Neil Cox believes it’s a blessing in disguise that AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley couldn’t make it to his side’s stalemate with Tranmere Rovers today.
Cox was standing in for Ardley at Prenton Park as the Dons chief recovers from hip surgery and oversaw a 1-1 draw for the visitors.
Bayo Akinfenwa’s opener was cancelled out in stoppage time by on-loan Everton youngster George Green to leave Wimbledon seven points off the play-offs.
If that wasn’t tough enough to take for the Dons, the away dugout was up in arms over referee Andy Woolmer’s decision not to award a penalty for a challenge on Ade Azeez.
Cox made his thoughts known post-match and joked it was probably best that the absent Ardley wasn’t able to give the officials a piece of his mind.
He told the BBC: “It’s a good job I’m here and he isn’t going in to see the referee.
“It was a definite penalty. I think that’s the fifth or sixth time we’ve an opportunity for a penalty turned down.
“Obviously I’ve got to be careful about what I say because I don’t want to have a go at the referee but he’s in the perfect position.
“It’s his job to give a decision and he doesn’t give it. You’ve got to make the right one and obviously he didn’t make the right one.
“He doesn’t have to go down. He’s brought him down. Even their bench thought it was a penalty.
“Let’s give them some credit. They put us under all sorts of pressure in the second half. I’ve got to give our boys credit as well because they defended well.
“It’s been a good test for us and they are bitterly disappointed in there to give a goal away at the end and not get the decision go for us.”
Green was a menace to Wimbledon all afternoon and it was no surprise that it was the 19-year-old teenage Toffees youngster who made the net bulge for Rovers.
Everton paid a reported £2million fee to sign him from Bradford City four years ago and Cox could see why Tranmere and the Toffees rate him so highly.
He added: “Fair credit to the lad.
“We’d given him four or five opportunities before that and with the last kick of the game he bends it in the top corner.
“We will be a little bit disappointed that we didn’t show him on his weaker foot but let’s give him a little bit of credit, it’s a great finish.
“There’s a lot of positives though. We had two kids at centre-half and a young left-back after Jack Smith went off.
“I thought they handled the physical presence well.
“I’ve got to give credit to all my boys and we’re unlucky not to get the decision.”