Harrogate Town defender Ryan Fallowfield insists that Tranmere Rovers spot-kick was 'never a penalty'

"Never a penalty".

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 10:08 am
Harrogate Town goalkeeper Mark Oxley is beaten by Jay Spearing's 32nd-minute penalty. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

That was the view of Harrogate Town defender Ryan Fallowfield on referee Declan Bourne's decision to award Tranmere Rovers a first-half spot-kick during Tuesday night's 2-2 draw at Wetherby Road.

With 31 minutes on the clock, visiting right-back Josh Dacres-Cogley burst into the home box and was challenged from behind by a sliding Jack Diamond.

The Harrogate winger appeared to play the ball, but Mr Bourne deemed the tackle to be an illegal one, presenting Jay Spearing with an opportunity that he did not pass up to break the deadlock from 12 yards.

Harrogate Town right-back Ryan Fallowfield.

"It's never a penalty. I don't know what the referee is doing," Fallowfield told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"To be fair, ours is soft but I think he has just evened it up. I don't know if he thinks he's made a mistake.

"The ball has changed direction, so for me Jack's is a fair tackle. I don't even think their kid [Dacres-Cogley] thought it was a penalty. He looked to see what the referee was doing with his whistle and why he had blown it.

"I don't think either of them were penalties. Will's is more of a penalty than Tranmere's, but it is what it is, the referee had a decision to make and he's made it.

"Once he's given the penalty there's nothing you can do about it."

Town began the game very much on the back foot but had just started to come to life in the period that preceded the award of the penalty which enabled Tranmere to edge in front.

But the Sulphurites did not waste any time feeling sorry for themselves, getting back on terms shortly before half-time through Jack Muldoon's spot-kick, then taking the lead early in the second period courtesy of a Luke Armstrong header.

And Fallowfield felt that the way he and his team-mates bounced back from the disappointment of falling behind is an indicator of why they are currently flying high up near the top of League Two.

"The response was good," the 25-year-old right back added.

"When Luke and Mullers started winning more first balls it kind of lifted us a little bit. We were getting on to the seconds and getting the ball out wide, Jack was having a little bit of joy, me and Thommo [George Thomson] were doing our bit and it was freeing Patto [Alex Pattison] up as well.

"It was a good response and I feel like we've done that quite a lot this season. When we've gone a goal down, I think we have responded quite well and that's a sign of a good team.

"The table doesn't lie, we're in the top two for a reason. We're doing well. We need to tighten up at the back, that's evident with the goals we are conceding, but we're also scoring plenty and creating a lot of chances."

Tranmere arrived in North Yorkshire with four wins to their name from their previous five matches and having conceded just four times in 12 league outings this term.

Thus, Fallowfield believes that coming away with a share of the spoils represents a good night's work.

He continued: "We've worked hard tonight. We can improve on the goals that we've conceded. There's a still a lot to learn but I think you take a point against a team that's definitely gonna be challenging for promotion this season.

"They've kept the back door shut in quite a lot of games and we've managed to score two against them, so there's lots of positives. Everyone of us put a massive shift in and I think it's a deserved point.

"We conceded not long after we got our second and we felt like if we could have held out at 2-1 we could have seen what they had about them, but it was a high-intensity game and there were a lot of chances at each end. I feel like it must have been a really good game for the fans to watch."