CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Red justic for Bluebirds
ALAN Griffin revealed referee Lee Sheridan apologised to the Bluebirds for ruling out his goal in Saturday’s frustrating defeat.
Griffin thought he had scored a bizarre opener after he was initially flagged offside.
The referee signalled for an advantage to Leamington without whistling and, when Brakes’ goalie Niall Cooper rolled the ball out for a kick upfield, Griffin reacted quickly and fired into an empty net.
“It was a goal – the ref said that he’s made a mistake,” said Griffin.
“First of all they thought I was offside but, once he’s played the advantage, I can’t be offside because it’s the next phase of play. The ball’s been dropped, I’ve nicked it off him and scored.
“The referee’s admitted that he’s made a mistake but there’s nothing we can do now and it’s robbed us of a goal. They went straight down the other end and scored to change the game.
“It’s a massive slice of luck that we didn’t get.”
Griffin said: “We were the better team by far and a draw was the minimum we deserved. We played the better football and I think that if we’d gone a goal up, we would have won the game.
“Now we’ve got a run of league games where we can maybe get more of a settled squad, with players not cup-tied.
“Obviously now, we’re down the bottom of the league because we haven’t got enough points but if we play like we did (against Leamington), we’ll climb the league pretty rapidly.”
Just after Griffin’s early strike was controversially ruled out, the hosts took the lead through Ricky Johnson, who fired home after latching on to Matty Dodd’s low delivery.
James Husband’s floated cross smacked against the inside of the Bluebirds’ crossbar but Nathan Rudge’s visitors were on the front foot for most of the afternoon, Scott Lye drawing two fine saves from Cooper either side of half-time while Griffin also had a shot on the turn beaten away.
Midway through the second half, Ben John kept Chippenham in the game with a brave piece of goalkeeping to deny Dodd at point-blank range.
In the 78th minute, Rudge’s men came close to an equaliser as Lee Phillips’ driven cross was headed goalwards by Luke Ballinger but the winger’s effort was kept out by the upright and the acrobatics of Cooper.