A POOR decision to award Taunton Town a second half penalty while Swindon Supermarine held a one-goal lead turned Saturday’s Southern League Premier Division tie on its head, with Marine eventually losing 2-1.

The hosts led by a goal at half time courtesy of proven goalscorer Conor McDonagh’s latest marker.

But shortly before the hour mark, Taunton were awarded a controversial penalty when Dan Sullivan rather dramatically fell to the ground.

Ryan Brett converted from 12 yards before the visitors completed their turnaround when Sullivan’s deflected effort from the edge of the penalty area beat Martin Horsell’s reach.

Frustrated Marine chief Lee Spalding revealed members of Taunton’s management team offered their sympathy after full-time following the penalty call.

“I wish we could appeal, because it is blatantly obvious that it is not a penalty – and I told the referee after the game that I’d be sending him a clip of the goal,” said Spalding.

“It’s beyond believable when you watch it back. There is nothing we can do now, so we must look to bounce back.

“But it’s frustrating, very frustrating. To work as hard as we did and lose points is tough. Even their assistant manager after the game told me it was never a penalty.”

While Marine remain in the Premier Division’s play-off frame, Saturday’s loss was their third league defeat on the bounce.

Fine margin defeats to promotion chasing sides Truro, Poole and Taunton have dropped the Webbswood Stadium side to fifth in the division.

But, a golden opportunity to return to winning ways presents itself to Marine on Tuesday when they visit table topping Chesham United.

Spalding wants his players to show the same spirit and energy they display on Saturday at home.

He added: “We went in a goal up at half time, but Taunton probably had the better of the game – we were fortunate to go in a goal ahead despite Conor McDonagh’s well-worked marker.

“Players showed good spirit and dug in defensively when they needed to, there were positives to take even though we didn’t play our best game when in possession.

“I’m not into having a pop at officials because they have an extremely hard job. But when they’re making a decision like that and it impacts the result, you’re going to complain about it.

“It was a shocking decision, a poor decision.

“That penalty put us on the back foot and defensively we gave Taunton a lot of room on the edge of the area for their second.

“The result makes Tuesday’s game against Chesham even bigger, and that won’t be an easy game either.”