Paul Warne claims referee Charles Breakspear apologised over a controversial moment as Derby County lose 2-1 at Plymouth Argyle.
The Pilgrims put in a good shift to continue their bid for automatic promotion from League One in front of a bumper Home Park crowd.
Nathaniel Mendez Laing’s first goal was a reward for Derby’s hard work, with the visitors impressing in the first period, only to slip up and hand the hosts the win.
Argyle was stronger and better in the second half, and substitute Callum Wright performing an outstanding move to get one back, albeit with the help of a deflection.
Ryan Hardie put Plymouth in front with a spot kick 10 minutes later, and he very nearly got his side’s third with just eight minutes remaining.
Second-placed Argyle now sit five points ahead of third-placed Ipswich Town, who were 3-0 winners at home to Accrington, and are now level on points with Sheffield Wednesday, who has a better goal difference and have two more games in hand.
Derby County’s third consecutive away defeat sees them fall to sixth after Barnsley’s win over Portsmouth.
— TOM DARLO (@Thomas09304296) March 7, 2023
Yep it’s blatant corruption at this point pic.twitter.com/RZHbDvMNwM
— JimH_DCFC (@DCFC_Jim7) March 7, 2023
Paul Warne disclosed that Charles Breakspear, referee for the game, apologised to Harvey White over that penalty call.
Speaking after the game (via Derbyshire Live), Rams boss Paul Warne said the ref told the midfielder he was sorry if he got it wrong, admitting the words only wound him up more.
He said: “I thought [the penalty] was weak.
“He said to the player I am sorry if I have got that wrong. That has wound me up even more. But in games like this you can’t guess.”
🎙️ “Hugely disappointed. I’d like to apologise to the fans who made an unbelievable journey to come here on a Tuesday night”. 😠
Paul Warne reacts after Derby’s 2-1 loss to Plymouth. pic.twitter.com/ySbR8R0nJy
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) March 7, 2023
He added via the club website: “I am obviously disappointed. We should have created more goalscoring opportunities but we didn’t and in the second half when they put it on us a bit we didn’t have many answers so I am hugely disappointed with our second half performance.
“It’s obviously my job as the voice of the dressing room to come out and say it but as a group I think we let a lot of people down and I’m pretty angry inside about our performance.
“I didn’t think our first half performance was far off what we want away from home but in the second half we didn’t do enough to score a second or a third goal and when we have an opportunity to tackle in the middle of the pitch, we didn’t take it. When we have a chance to stop a simple throw-in, we didn’t take it.
‘Our little details tonight weren’t at a standard to win at a place like this.
“They were always going to come at us and we rode the storm for five or six minutes. They got their goal via a deflection and their tails were lifted because the position they are in – it’s a big scalp to beat us – I’m well aware of that.
“Then after the penalty, I just don’t think there was enough of a reaction after that to get us anything and that’s what disappoints me the most. You’re going to have things go against you but good teams just grab the game and think: let’s do this. I just don’t think as a group – and I’m part of that group – we did enough to get back in.
“Everything is a concern when you’re not winning and we’re not winning and you need to win to be in the play-offs, let alone anything else.
“On Saturday against Shrewsbury we gave them three goalscoring opportunities and conceded two (Derby drew 2-2 after leading 2-0 at half-time) and we probably created eight and took two, so I don’t think we are scoring enough from good positions and I don’t think we are defending well enough when we to concede opportunities and that’s as simple as football is.
“The journey home will be horrendous for everyone and I sincerely thank all the fans who came. I saw a lot of them in the town today and they are really good people who want the best for the club, but I just feel like we let a few people down tonight and it stinks to be honest.
“I find it very difficult to come out and speak to you about it because I can understand if teams are better than us – but that’s not how it felt, it felt like we got out-fought and that’s a difficult pill for me to swallow.
“I have to go out and try and defend them (to the media) and I don’t think I’ve really defended them that great to be honest but they have to know what I think and feel and if they want success then there’s certain things which I expect and if they don’t want that success then they are at the wrong club.
“We’ve come here to be successful. We’ve come here to win games and win promotions and I say promotions but that’s what we’ve come here to do. If people don’t believe in what I’m saying and they disagree then they are entitled to say it to me. I’ve asked them to and nobody has disagreed with what I said. I’m not the enemy, I’m trying to help them win games and I think the simple things have lost it for us tonight.”
Plymouth’s Steven Schumacher said (via the club website): “That second half performance, in my opinion, is everything that this club should be about. Fans right behind the team, the team fighting for every ball, passing the ball really well, being exciting to watch and going away with another huge three points.
“I had full faith in [Hardie]. He’s in really good form at the moment. He’s full of confidence and he practices his penalties every day.
“When he gets them, you’re confident that he’s going to strike it well, and he did.
“At this moment in time, you don’t want anybody else on it. He’s on fire – as the crowd were singing at the end – and long may that continue.”
🎙️ “We thrive under the pressure the fans put on us”
Ryan Hardie & Finn Azaz react after Plymouth come from behind to beat Derby pic.twitter.com/L9QJOGSidQ
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) March 7, 2023
“I thought we played really well,” said Schumacher. “It took us 10 minutes to get into the game, but once we settled down and actually started passing the ball to a green shirt, then I thought we looked ok.
“In the first half, we just didn’t get enough shots away. We only had three, with 60% possession. We said, second half, if we can move the ball a bit faster and get into that final third, show a bit of quality, then we’d have a chance.
“For the last half an hour of the first half, we played quite well. We passed the ball well. Things just fizzled out a little bit.
“We went to a back four, and we got three number tens on, to see if they could deal with the three quality players in there. Thankfully they didn’t.
“We change our shape, Callum scores and gets us back in the game, and then I just felt that we grew in confidence. We felt that if we played with that speed and that tempo, then they were going to struggle to stay with it. They’ve got a real different balance of a squad.
“They’ve got older players who get tired late on in the game and real young players, who might get nervous, so we took full advantage of it.
“We believed that if we keep playing at that tempo that we did, and the lads put in that effort, then we felt we’d have a bit too much energy for Derby tonight, and thankfully we did.”
🎙️ “If we take care of our business then hopefully we’ll be fine”
Steven Schumacher insists that Plymouth won’t be getting ‘carried away’ and will only focus on their results. pic.twitter.com/UaFEURqshU
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) March 7, 2023
This is what fans said as Paul Warne claims the referee apologised over the controversial moment as Derby lose at Plymouth…
@MichaelRealReed: That’s a stonewall pen!! Trod on his foot!!
@MelMellonie: Never a penalty.
@McewanRice: Soft for sure, but not a dive
@KerryAngie: Couldn’t wait to give it.
@leefaichney: Never a pen.
@mattyg_97: That’s bad that. No way that’s a peno 😂
@Argylenath: He gave the ref a decision to make – it was soft but he caught him and Azaz just made sure he went down
@dan47518894: Admit it’s a soft pen but that just sums up efl refs
@midlandno4: Clear as day, it’s a dive!
@gordon_burnley: Unfortunately that is where our game is now… It’s not football as we knew or what it should be. They all do it, is it a penalty? Yes .. should it be ? No, should the player go down like that? No. Money has ruined the game , and it’s now in grass roots 🤦♂️
@edstevo1: Officials at this level are so bad, yet they get away with it week in week out. We’ve had plenty of decisions not go our way and points lost as a result.. 10/10 for the dive here…
@NikPAFC: Almost killed him!
@WPacey_89: Clearly steps on his right foot. Pen all day. 😂
@JonnyBates91: Oh wow 😂😂😂😂
@adamhembrow1: It’s cheating. Nothing more, and nothing less. Players need to take responsibility for conning the ref and cheating to win.
@willwatson98: Lucky to be alive horrific challenge that
@scorpionrams: Should be banned for cheating need to get this across all divisions so it stops caught cheating automatically get 5 match ban or sent off in the game then fined by club
@CandyCrushC_nt: Possibly robbed of a point there by another legally blind referee. I cant wait to get out of this shite league.
@lukestokes26: paid to hate us 🙃🤷♀️
@OliPlays13: Honestly, after the Cobblers appeal today and then things like this being given as a pen. Just what is the point in refs? Beyond a joke (this season it has somehow gotten worse)
@ConnorParker10: Rapidly falling out of love with this game
@GreatMidlands: Clear pen. Trod on his foot. Theatrical fall to ground but a pen nevertheless. #dcfc
@Ollieargyle9: “Alexa, show me a stonewall penalty” #pafc
@monkeyboy21714: Plymouth are the luckiest shites I’ve ever seen #itfc
@WrennerBoolley: Plymouth really are shithouses aren’t they!
@MorganSmith1000: Plymouth out here still paying refs. Diving cunt
@Drackus_AD: Goes down theatrically but gets the player and none of the ball, only one outcome. Silly challenge. #dcfc #pafc
— Andy Davies (@_AndyDavies) March 7, 2023