GRESLEY manager Martin Rowe hit out at an “unbelievable” injury-time penalty decision that cost the Moatmen a point against Loughborough Dynamo.
Referee Marc Perry awarded the spot kick for deliberate handball against Lucas Harrison in the third minute of time added on, and Dynamo’s Ryan Tinsley took full advantage from 12 yards.
Rowe said: ”I’m gutted. It was unbelievable.
“How can a referee make an instant decision like that saying it was a penalty?
“The ball has come off the ground and hit Lucas Harrison and he know nothing about it.
“It was not intentional, it was just one of those things. It happens all the time in football.
“The referee made his decision in seconds that it was deliberate handball. Never in a month of Sundays.
Rowe was adamant that Gresley deserved to take at least a point from Saturday’s game.
He said: “I thought we played well. I’ve been critical with the players over our first two home games when I didn’t think we had the passion or desire to win the games.
“We had that passion and desire – players going in winning 50-50 balls – and they deserved to get something out of the game.
“Football likes kicking you when you are down there, but it’s up to us to get the lads up.”
Gresley were without the unavailable Marc Goodfellow and Jamie Barrett, while Jordan Nadat missed out though injury, allowing Rowe to hand debuts to Mitch Hanson and Liam Guest.
Gresley keeper Ross Etheridge made an early save to deny former Moatman Kris Nurse, turning his shot away for a corner.
The action swung to the other end with Rob Spencer sending Royce Turville through, but Dynamo keeper Laurie Pearson made a good block.
Mickey Lyons then turned provider for Eric Graves, but the final shot was straight at Pearson.
Gresley were the width of the woodwork away from taking the lead when John Guy’s header from James Jepson’s free-kick clipped the top of the bar.
Etheridge then produced a double-block to deny Nurse, grabbing the ball at the third attempt before the forward could react again.
Turville had another chance midway through the half but was uable to find the right connection, firing wide of the post.
Dynamo had a chance to break the deadlock late in the first half, but Etheridge saved the hosts with a goal-line clearance.
Both sides made changes at the break with Michael Fitzhugh replacing the injured Turville and Jordan Holmes coming on for first-half substitute Nathan Kelly.
Dynamo immediately went close when Tinsley’s well struck free-kick clipped the top of the bar.
Lyons then had a shot saved by Pearson who was also quick to react to the follow-up.
The game seemed to go flat with both sides finding it difficult to produce the decisive final ball.
With the match seemingly drifting away towards a draw Dynamo were awarded a gilt-edged opportunity to snatch all three points.
Harrison could do nothing to prevent a bouncing ball from hitting his hand, and the referee pointed straight to the spot in an extremely harsh decision which amazed and dismayed the home players, management and support.
Tinsley remained composed to send Etheridge the wrong way and seal victory for the visitors.
The result was hard to accept and the Gresley players, management and support left the Moat Ground feeling that a share of the spoils had been deserved but cruelly snatched away.