Elgin City loan defender Ross Draper believes referees are being too easily conned after falling victim to a controversial penalty for the second weekend running.
Draper was penalised 10 minutes into Saturday’s 2-1 League Two defeat to Stranraer, just like he was in the early minutes of the 4-0 loss at Kelty seven days earlier.
Stranraer striker Matt Yates won and converted the controversial spot-kick to set the visitors up for victory, with sub Michael Mullen adding a second before Darryl McHardy’s last minute consolation.
Cove Rangers loanee Draper is adamant he did not commit a foul on both occasions, and revealed how he asked to speak to referee Duncan Williams for an explanation of why he awarded the spot-kick to Stranraer.
Draper said: “Last week I watched a slowed-down clip of me just passing the ball to my centre-half, and that gets given as a penalty.
“For me, this one could be worse.
“Referees need to understand when people are trying to con you. He has to see an actual foul for what it is and he has to see when someone is trailing a leg or flinging their body in an unnatural body motion.
“It is frustrating, because it has happened twice in a week.
“I went in to see the ref and there was no problem, but he says I played the ball but the follow through was a penalty.
“But I said to him: ‘I’ve not played the ball, I’ve stopped my body and he’s kind of toed the ball away and spun.’ So you get these mixed messages.
“Having said that we have spoken as a group about not being good enough and I don’t think we competed, so we need to make sure we do that against Annan on Tuesday.”
Elgin manager Gavin Price was even more furious, suggesting his own team were denied two penalty shouts and had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside.
Price, who handed only a second City start to teenage attacker Fin Allen, felt the youngster was denied a first senior goal by a controversial offside flag.
“I maybe shouldn’t be berating referees because that shouldn’t be the only influence in the game and it’s not, but it’s played a massive part in what the scoreline is today,” he said.
“There’s three penalty decisions that have all gone against us and for me the biggest sin and was so obvious was Fin going through on goal and him giving offside.
“I’ve got exactly the same view as the linesman and he got that one wrong, as well as the penalty.
“We have got to be better at overturning these negative situations, but it is difficult enough to win games of football when you are up against all these decisions.”
Elgin were fortunate not to go behind after five minutes when they were opened up by a slick Stranraer move to set up a close-range opening for Scott Robertson, who blazed high over.
Six minutes later, the visitors were awarded their penalty when Draper was penalised after winning the ball off Yates, who then went down in the aftermath of the challenge.
Yates duly converted from the spot to give the Stair Park side an early advantage.
Stranraer keeper Luke Scullion dealt with efforts from Draper and Russel Dingwall then denied Kane Hester with an outstretched foot to poke away his angled drive on the half hour.
Stranraer’s Dean Hawkshaw hooked a Hester flick off the line as Elgin chased hard for an equaliser on the stroke of half time.
Elgin dominated for the first 20 minutes of the second half. but failed to make the Stranraer keeper work, and paid the penalty.
The visitors gradually regained confidence and, on a series of breakaways, Elgin keeper Tom McHale denied Robertson on three occasions.
Stranraer got their vital second goal with 15 minutes left when Yates teed-up sub Mullen to score at the second attempt.
In a late flurry, McHardy – who was thrown into Elgin’s attack as an emergency striker – fired home a fine finish with a minute left, but it proved to be merely a consolation goal.