ALTHOUGH baffled by some of the officials’ decisions, Alan Knight insists the Magpies can have “no excuses” after losing to Havant & Waterlooville in a nine-goal thriller at the Avenue Stadium.
Referee Simon Knapp and his assistants failed to spot a blatant foul on home keeper Alan Walker-Harris in the build-up to the Hawks’ second goal, which ultimately led to Rico Wilson handling on the goal-line and duly receiving his marching orders.
Still trying to regain their match sharpness following a five-week break, the 10-man Magpies were unable to repair the damage, despite a debut goal from Sam Malsom and a brace of penalties from Tom Nichols.
Knight, whose side could arguably have been awarded two further spot-kicks, said: “The referee gave some strange decisions all round, he gave some penalties when they weren’t penalties and didn’t give penalties when they were. He was very inconsistent with his consistency.
“But I can’t make any excuses. Havant have been struggling of late but they will say someone had that coming, unfortunately it was us. Everything they hit went in. Going down to 10 men didn’t help us but we were nowhere near good enough.”
Knight, a former goalkeeping coach at Havant, added: “I don’t think in 35 years of football I have witnessed a game quite like that.
“It’s a hard one to take but fair play to Havant. We never got started and in the first 35 minutes we weren’t at the races. In that time we conspired to shoot ourselves massively in the foot.
“I don’t know whether it was a 6-3 game but Havant took their chances and every time Steve Ramsey shot he scored. We definitely showed signs of being very ring-rusty. Five weeks without playing did worry me beforehand but all we can do is dust ourselves down.
“We still created a lot of chances with only 10 men and that was the one pleasing thing to come out of it.
“Defensively we were all over the place and Alan Walker-Harris didn’t have one of his better days. He fully admitted that afterwards, which shows his character, and I’m sure he will move on from it.”