Cobblers boss Chris Wilder accused referee Keith Hill of ‘bottling’ a penalty decision in his side’s loss at Cheltenham and said the official ‘spat his dummy out’ by sending him to the stands at half-time.
Town lost 3-2 at Whaddon Road, with all three goals against coming from set-pieces, to extend their winless slump to a third match and slip to 12th in the Sky Bet League Two table.
Wilder saw the second half from the main stand after being dismissed during the half-time interval by Hill, who he felt should have given a penalty for a foul on Ivan Toney at a corner when the game was 0-0.
“Ivan Toney was absolutely ragged in the penalty area - everyone in the ground saw it but not the referee, linesman or the fourth official,” he said. “I thought he bottled it.
“Then, he spat his dummy out. If I had been playing in that game, I’d have been all over the referee and I didn’t want any of our players doing that so I was getting them away from him.
“I had a few words with him. I never swore at him and he’s got to be able to take a few words from people. It’s a passionate game and it’s our profession.
“All he had to do was tell me to calm down and I’d have calmed down. He could’ve handled it better but he didn’t handle it at all.
“He said he sent me to the stand because I had a go at him but people have a go at me all the time and they’re right to, because I make mistakes as well.
“I probably should have kept Alex Nicholls on when we were on top so we all get it wrong sometimes. He got it completely wrong because Ivan got absolutely totalled in the box but he didn’t see it.”
Wilder also felt his team were naive in allowing the home side numerous opportunities to play the ball into the box from set plays and feels their inconsistency is becoming a major concern.
“We were naive, a mug side,” he said. “We knew the ball was going to come into our box a lot and we dealt with that reasonably well in the first half.
“There was a little bit of quality lacking at the top end of the pitch and I don’t understand how up and down we can be there, especially in terms of our final ball.
“We didn’t show our quality and we knew they would be good at set-pieces so we couldn’t afford to give away daft free-kicks, but we did. We’re inconsistent and that’s a real concern for me.”