Alexander Blasts Officials


Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander hit out at the referee after his side went down to a controversial penalty in a 1-0 defeat at Oldham.

The result ended Fleetwood's unbeaten start in Sky Bet League One and Alexander laid the blame squarely at the feet of official Mark Brown.

Both sides had chances before Oldham's winner, which came in first-half stoppage time when referee Brown awarded a penalty for Steven Schumacher's challenge on Danny Philliskirk.

Jonathan Forte drilled home from the spot and Oldham almost doubled their lead when Fleetwood's Nathan Pond deflected a free-kick against his own crossbar.

Gareth Evans twice went close for the visitors, but they could not breach a well-organised Latics defence.

Alexander said: “I'm not taking anything away from Oldham because they are a good team, but they were given a massive helping hand.

“The penalty decision was a continuation of what was happening in the first half. Steven Schumacher didn't touch their player at all, but the referee has given it.

“You can tell whether it's a penalty from players' reactions and everyone could see it was no penalty, apart from the officials.

“I should be standing here with a 0-0 draw complaining that we didn't win the game, but outside interference has cost us.

“In the first half it was free-kick after free-kick for Oldham. It was out of order.

“We aren't a dirty team by any stretch of the imagination, but Oldham realised they would get a free-kick every time they went down.

“Officials are influenced by the crowd and our players were nervous about going near Oldham's players.

“The officials have cost us the game and I'm bitterly disappointed.”

Oldham manager Lee Johnson was delighted with his team's third straight victory, all achieved without conceding a goal.

The Latics had previously beaten Doncaster in the league and Bradford in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, and Johnson said: “What a difference a week makes.

“Seven days ago people were feeling down, but now everyone is on a high and we are only going to get better from here.

“We've needed time to bed in a lot of new players, but we've done a lot of hard work on the training pitch and you can see it's paying off.

“Three wins and three clean sheets is excellent, but there are things to analyse and improve so that we can make it a consistent progression.

“This is one of the best performances in my time here because we had a tough game on Tuesday night and Fleetwood are a really good side.

“The players had to come through it mentally and physically.

“The game kept everyone engrossed because there was constant switching of possession, but the core of our team was excellent.

“Liam Kelly and Mike Jones had a difficult job in midfield because they were outnumbered, but they were superb.

“George Elokobi has become a cult hero and Dominic Poleon had a fantastic debut up front.”