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Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill critical of referee after defeat to Fleetwood

Steve Cotterill’s Shrewsbury had a man sent off (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Steve Cotterill’s Shrewsbury had a man sent off (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill was livid at referee Ross Joyce after a controversial first-half penalty began his team’s downfall in the 3-0 loss to Fleetwood.

Admiral Muskwe converted the 25th-minute spot-kick given for handball against Matthew Pennington which also brought about the defender’s dismissal.

Former Bohemians striker Promise Omochere doubled Fleetwood’s lead three minutes later with his first goal since moving from Ireland.

And the Cod Army wrapped up a first victory in three games when Chey Dunkley deflected a shot from ex-Salop star Josh Vela into his own net after 89 minutes.

Cotterill has seen three red cards for his players in three consecutive games, all ending in defeat.

“I thought the referee couldn’t wait to give a penalty,” said Cotterill. “He (Joyce) wanted to be the centre of attention.

“I don’t know why because he could just have booked him. We will be down as that team having red cards but we are not like that.

“They shot at Pennington’s arm. He hasn’t gone to move to save it or touch the ball away.

“It has hit him on the arm. But with this guy it was definitely going to be a penalty.

“The sending off rocked us all the way to half-time and we didn’t need the second goal to go in. That was key because with 10 men it was a mountain to climb.

“Had we got to half-time with only one goal in it, we would have been more encouraged. With 10 men in the second half we dominated the game. We were the only team playing football but our legs ran out on us.”

Fleetwood boss Scott Brown was delighted by his team’s response to back-to-back defeats against Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday.

And he made no apologies for a more robust and direct approach to return his team to winning ways.

“You can’t always be a nice footballing team, pretty on the eye,” said Brown. “So, today it was a change up. Do we go this way all the time? Maybe not.

“It depends on who we play against. If we have to go physical we have that in our locker. But if we want to play and control games we can do that as well.

“When we played Shrewsbury at the start of the season we were a nice footballing team but didn’t have any edge to us. Today we had that grit between our teeth. We did what they did to us.”

On the penalty flashpoint Brown added: “I have not seen it back but the lads say he almost caught the ball. So, it’s 100 per cent a penalty if I trust what they are saying.”