“I JUST hope the referee looks at his decisions and doesn’t make the same mistakes again,’’ said Sam Collins.

“People will look at it on TV and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work it out.’’ That was the Hartlepool United captain talking after last season’s trip to Colchester and the sense of injustice was repeated on Saturday.

Collins was referring to two of the three penalties awarded against them at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in September 2009.

Fourteen months later, instead of Kevin Woolmer it was Oliver Langford who cost Pools the game.

Peter Hartley admitted handling the ball in injury time, minutes after Pools pulled level at 2-2 with a quality freekick from Evan Horwood.

But Hartley wasn’t even standing inside the penalty area when the official decreed a penalty was the outcome for his offence.

Mick Wadsworth didn’t want to come out afterwards and speak to the waiting press until he had seen the incident on DVD.

From his pitchside vantage point it was hard to call right or wrong. From Langford’s it wasn’t.

“We got level with a good free-kick, but then had it snatched away with an appalling, ridiculous, despicable decision,’’ reflected the coach.

“It’s frustrating as you cannot speak to the officials after the game. I went over to him and just asked if he was willing to watch the DVD, all I got was ‘handball, it was a handball’.

There’s no contrition or doubt from him. Yes it was handball, but not in the box.

“It’s clear to see it wasn’t in the area, clear on DVD and clear to my players on the pitch.’’ Central defender Hartley said: “I was a metre outside the area, no doubt about it as I stood out of the box to press forward and close down. I knew where I was when it hit me.

“If the referee gives it, it’s a free-kick, not a penalty.

“We ask him why, he says ‘handball, handball, handball’.

So why have you given a penalty? ‘Handball’. Come on ref...

“Look I can’t say much else, but it’s ridiculous.

“We should be talking about the goal that got us a point. Instead a bad decision and a mistake has cost us.’’ Horwood’s free-kick was a reward for a rather enterprising display from Wadsworth’s side.

Trailing 2-1 to two goals in three slack second-half minutes, they changed formation to a 4-4-2 and spent the rest of the game pressing the home side back.

It took them a bit of time to get into the game from the off, but when they did, with James Brown getting to the pace of the game, they took a 28th minute lead.

Collins took a long throw, cleared to the edge of the area to Murray and he shaped his body to make sure he stayed over the ball as he struck it left-footed firmly into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Pools saw the half out comfortably, but a couple of tactical changes didn’t really work.

Fabian Yantorno played his part in the first half wide on the right as he interchanged with Brown and Andy Monkhouse as part of a fluent midfield.

But when he swopped roles with Brown, the ball wasn’t sticking up front and Pools lost an outlet.

The home side started to press and both their goals were of a similar nature.

Andy Bond’s charge ahead went unchecked and his low shot spun off Hartley on its way into the net.

Then big defender Magnus Okuonghae was allowed to do the same. His shot dipped in front of Kean and the keeper parried only to the feet of Kayode Odejayi. The striker, who Danny Wilson wanted to sign for Pools three years ago, volleyed in.

With Ritchie Humphreys and Armann Bjornsson forming a strike force, Pools spent the rest of the game chasing a leveller.

Leon McSweeney’s burst from the right through the middle was halted by Kem Izzett.

From a free-kick in an identical position at Vauxhall Motors last week, Neil Austin clipped the bar. This time Horwood swept it over and around the defensive wall and high into the net.

It should have been more than enough for another satisfying away point.

Langford, 28, in his first season as a Football League referee claims on his official website profile that “Good communication, man-management skills, a love of the game and an excellent knowledge of the laws of the game should stand you in good stead.’’ After showing none of those attributes on Saturday, he’s obviously got some way to go yet.

Match facts


0-1: Murray (28, low angled volley into the bottom corner from 20 yards)

1-1: Bond (57, allowed to move forward unchecked and his shot deflected in off Hartley)

2-1: Odejayi (60, close range finish after Kean parried a long-range shot)

2-2: Horwood (87, 25 yard free-kick curled left footed high over the wall)

3-2: Henderson (90, injury time penalty drilled high across Kean)

Bookings: Collins (foul, 67), Reid (foul 67), Liddle (foul 77), Izzet (foul, 86) Odejayu (foul 90)

Referee: Oliver Langford (Stafford): Rewrote the rule book. Only he knows how a handball outside the area constitutes a penalty 1

Attendance: 3,640

Entertainment: ✰✰✰


Willams 5; Wilson 6, Okuonghae 6, Reid 6, Vincent 7 (White 90); Tierney 5, PERKINS 7 (Beevers 78), Wordsworth 6 (Izzet 57, 5), Bond 5; Odejayi 6, Henderson 5. Subs (not used): Baldwin, James, Henderson, Cousins (gk)


5 Kean: Would be disappointed not to paw aside the shot that brought the second goal;

6 Austin: Away from home, you know what to expect from the right back and he didn’t disappoint

6 Collins: Stood off big Odejayi at times when he could have got closer to him

6 Hartley: Left furious with the outcome and rightly so after a sound display

7 HORWOOD: Memorable free-kick should have earned a draw and went close in the first-half with a drive of some ferocity;

5 Yantorno: Did a steady job on the right in the first half, but didn’t do what was needed when pushed up front

6 Murray: Enjoyed his first goal for the club, but again taken off early and that was after a rest in midweek

5 Sweeney: Lot of energy and running, but little output on this occasion

6 Liddle: Had freedom to get ahead in the first half when Pools were on top, but not up his standard of the previous week

5 Monkhouse: More of a hardworking and diligent display than a creative one

6 Brown: From 20 minutes to 45 he was very good, but not involved enough when pushed wide


Humphreys (for Yantorno 60): Helped Pools keep the pressure on as he was pitched up front 6

Bjornsson (for Murray 63): Won headers up front, but his teammates have to read his flicks more 6

McSweeney (for Brown 74) (not used): Mooney (gk), Haslam, Gamble, Poole.


EVAN Horwood – strong at the back, up and down the pitch all day and netted a quality free-kick.