LEE CLARK insisted a goalless draw would have been a fair reflection of Saturday’s showdown between Town and Southend.
The Galpharm manager admitted his side didn’t do enough to merit what would have been a third successive win.
But he argued the penalty which provided Lee Barnard with the 63rd-minute chance to clinch his side’s 1-0 League I victory should never have been awarded.
Referee Colin Webster ruled right-back Tom Clarke had handled Franck Moussa’s cross, but boss Clark insisted: “I just don’t know where players are meant to put their hands.
“If they raise their arms then fair enough, but when they are by their sides, it’s a different matter. The only other place they could go is behind their backs. It’s perplexing!
“It was a very similar decision to that given against Blackburn in their game against Tottenham earlier in the day.
“In general terms I thought the referee handled things well, but this was a big decision and it changed the game, because before, it had 0-0 written all over it.
“I felt for Tom because I think he played well and he didn’t deserve to give away that penalty.”
Clark, whose side dropped a place to 12th, added: “There is no questioning the effort and commitment of the players, but we didn’t do enough to deserve to win.
“We didn’t work their goalkeeper enough and our attacking players didn’t produce performances like they can.”Related content
Clark had a warning for winger Lionel Ainsworth, who was restored to the starting line-up.
“Sometimes it takes time to settle and I’m hoping this is the case with Lionel,” he said. “But he has to understand that he has to start delivering sooner rather than later because we cannot wait forever.”
The manager was happier with on-loan Liverpool man Martin Kelly, who again stood in at left-back on his home debut.
“He shouldn’t really have come our for the second half, because he was feeling well, possibly as a result of an infection of a toe which has got into his system,” he explained.
“That he was willing to continue showed me his character.”