Gillingham boss Steve Evans was livid with referee Trevor Kettle as his side was knocked out of the Carabao Cup 4-1 on penalties by Newport after a night of spot-kick drama and a 2-2 draw at Priestfield.
Kettle awarded four penalties during the game, three in favour of Evans’ Gillingham, but it was the decision to penalise Mikael Ndjoli that allowed Padraig Amond to step up in added time and send the game to a shootout.
The Gills took the lead through Brandon Hanlan’s spot-kick before missing another to allow Tristan Abrahams to level things up with five minutes to go.
Ndjoli looked to have won it with a conversion of his own late on but it was the goalscorer’s foul that Evans took grievance with and led to Amond forcing further spot-kick drama.
“We get three penalties – there’s not one penalty there that anybody would dispute,” he said.
“I think everybody in the ground apart from the Newport boys would dispute the equaliser at the end there as it’s never penalty,” said Ecans.
“It’s given for a foul by Mikael Ndjoli – there is no tug. But there you go, that’s Mr Kettle for you.
“I thought we were tremendous in spells. If we win 2-1 in normal time everybody goes out seeing that but we didn’t kill the tie when it was important to do so.
“I think Michael (Flynn) would accept that they were fortunate to progress, but that’s what the cup is all about; winning.”
Newport manager Michael Flynn was more coy on the key decisions during the game, choosing to highlight the performances of the players that came into his side.
“The least said on the penalties the better. It’s all OK when you’ve won but there were a couple of soft penalties – one of theirs and one of ours. Maybe two of theirs,” he said.
“It’s the old game of two halves and we were very poor in the first half and we could have been 3-0 down.
“Second half we could have been three or 4-1 up. It was crazy but I’ll give the boys who came in a bit of credit.
“A few of them looked nervous because it was their first starts. A couple of them didn’t know what to expect but in the second half they showed what good players they are.”