Cheltenham Town: Yates - The referee got Burton back in it
MARK Yates was left to rue a pair of penalty decisions he felt cost his side an opening day victory over Burton Albion on Saturday.
Robins debutant Terry Gornell went down in penalty area after 16 minutes, but referee Fred Graham cautioned him for diving.
Goals from Jamie Cureton, who was taken off on a stretcher with a dislocated shoulder, and his replacement Byron Harrison then put Cheltenham 2-0 up, but Burton were awarded a penalty for a handball by Russ Penn.
Yates said he could not believe both of the referee's calls went against his side, who were pegged back by Billy Kee's successfully converted spot-kick and a second-half volley from Rory Delap which made it 2-2 at the Abbey Business Stadium.
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"I spent two hours at a managers' meeting in Walsall recently, with half an hour spent on deliberate handball for penalties and I'd have been fined £5,000 if I hadn't gone, but I wonder why I bothered now," Yates said.
"How the referee has given that handball against Russ Penn I will never know and how he's booked Terry Gornell I will never know – he got them back in the game.
"Terry's was a clear penalty because there was a noise and a contact, but it's the first day of the season and maybe the referee was ring rusty and they got away with it.
"Credit to Burton for the fight-back, but their penalty deflated us and then a sloppy goal from a set piece was pretty awful.
"It was two decent teams up against each other and we are disappointed the referee has influenced it so much."
Yates handed starting debuts to five of his seven summer signings, with front men Gornell and Cureton joined by midfielder Matt Richards and defensive pair Troy Brown and Craig Braham-Barrett.
Cheltenham recovered from a first-minute scare to dominate the first half and Yates was pleased with what he saw from his new-look side.
"Jamie did what he does best with the goal and for 44 minutes we were superb," he said.
"We played with energy, pace, desire and everything I wanted, but I am frustrated because I couldn't see them getting back into the game until the penalty gave them a lifeline which they took
"Byron went on and did well, showing glimpses, but they all did and I am disappointed we've not won the game but pleased with them all."
Braham-Barrett was preferred to Billy Jones at left-back, making his Football League debut at the age of 25 and delivering an impressive display.
"Craig was excellent and he adds pace, he is two-footed and he gives us added security at the back," Yates said.
"I can't criticise any of my players because we dominated the first half and the second was fairly even."
Cheltenham play Crawley Town at home tomorrow evening (7.45pm) in the first round of the Capital One Cup.