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Accrington boss John Coleman frustrated by Ross Sykes red card in 4-4 draw

Accrington manager John Coleman was unhappy with the sending off of Ross Sykes in a 4-4 draw with Cheltenham (Barrington Coombs/PA Images).
Accrington manager John Coleman was unhappy with the sending off of Ross Sykes in a 4-4 draw with Cheltenham (Barrington Coombs/PA Images).

Accrington boss John Coleman vented his frustrated at refereeing decisions after a seventh red card of the season for his side in the 4-4 draw against Cheltenham.

Coleman, who was on a one-game dug-out ban for questioning a decision from last week’s defeat against Gillingham, saw Ross Sykes sent off for a second bookable offence in the 91st minute, a controversial handball.

Cheltenham took advantage and Will Boyle grabbed an equaliser in the sixth minute of injury time to deny Stanley the win.

Alfie May lobbed home his 21st league goal of the campaign on 33 minutes to put the Robins ahead before Tommy Leigh equalised in the first minute of first half added time.

In the fifth minute of added time Sean McConville put the Reds ahead and Leigh made it 3-1 on 48 minutes.

Boyle gave Cheltenham hope when he headed home from close range on 66 minutes to make it 3-2 before Michael Nottingham’s cross was turned into his own net by Ellis Chapman on 86 minutes to make it 4-2

In the 90th minute, Callum Wright tapped home for the Robins and then Sykes was shown a red card by referee Robert Lewis.

Just when it seemed like Stanley might hang on Boyle struck to make it 4-4.

“I feel like I am having the rug pulled from under me,” said Coleman. “Major decisions have gone against us this season and it keeps happening.

“I can’t ever remember us having so many men sent off as we have this season.

“I know people will say I am making excuses as it’s not just the officials, they aren’t conceding goals, but we just never seem to get the rub of the green and when you see instances back, there is nothing you can do, there is no recourse. It’s soul destroying.

“This feels like a loss. Cheltenham were second best in every department except in the one that counts, goals, where they were equal to us.

“But again it’s terrible defending by us and that’s something which has plagued us all season. We have good defenders but we are missing something.”

Cheltenham boss Michael Duff admitted his side were lucky in this mid-table battle.

“We did not deserve a point, we got outplayed, but we did not let our heads go down and you can’t fault our spirit,” said Duff.

“We have conceded too many goals this season, that’s obvious, but we are scoring at the other end. We need to get the balance right.

“We need to get back to what has been our success of the last few seasons, being solid at the back and that’s something we will work on.

“It was a weird emotion at the end as I should have been delighted with the late goal but I didn’t celebrate as I wasn’t happy with the performance. We nicked a point and they were better than us full stop.

“However any point away from home is a good one. I would have preferred a drab 0-0 draw but 4-4 makes it more memorable for the fans.”

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