Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale has called for clarification on the handball rule after seeing his side denied a blatant penalty in the 1-1 draw at Dagenham & Redbridge.
With his side trailing 1-0 at the time, Tisdale saw Alan Gow’s goal-bound shot strike the outstretched arm of defender Brian Saah, but despite appeals from all the Exeter players – and the cries of handball from 400-plus fans behind the goal – referee Darren Sheldrake waved play-on.
“I don’t understand the handball rule, I really don’t” Tisdale said. “It changes from week to week.
“We are told that, whether you mean it or not, if hands are raised and the ball if it hits your hand travelling towards the goal, which it was, then it’s a penalty.
“The ball may have hit the crossbar, or been saved, but it was going towards the goal and hit the player on the arm, which was raised and away from his body.
“I don’t understand how that is not the penalty, I don’t understand the rule and you see things even less obvious that get given.”
Tisdale added: “I’d like them to say if it hits your hand then it’s a penalty. At least we all know where we stand then.
“The whole thing is nonsense because there is too much subjectivity. There are too many variables. They should say if it hits your hand, it’s a penalty, if it doesn’t it’s not. At least then we can curse bad luck rather than the referee.”
City did go on to grab a share of the spoils through Sam Parkin’s header ten minutes from time, but it was very much a Jekyl and Hyde type of performance from the Grecians, who were awful in the first half and much better in the second.
“I was pleased with the response to an under-par first half performance,” Tisdale said. “We were a goal down, but responded well and improved our performance.
“We got our goal from it and we could have got two, or we could have got none. But in terms of responding and executing what I asked them to do, the players did it and that pleases me.
“I thought it was very even up until they scored. We tried to pass it too much on a very slow pitch and couldn’t move the ball about and the players should have adapted quicker to that.
“It was a giveaway goal and a shocking decision to come out for the ball from Artur (Krysiak), but goalkeepers make mistakes and that was one today. After that goal, they had a chance to beat us.
“We didn’t respond to the goal and at half-time, they were on top. We were more purposeful and direct with our play in the second half and I think we thoroughly deserved our equaliser. You have to be happy with a point when you are a goal down away from home at half-time.”