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Solihull boss blames referee’s controversial decision for FA Cup defeat to Wigan

Solihull Moors boss Neal Ardley blames a referee’s controversial decision for the FA Cup defeat to Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.

The National League outfit went out of the world’s oldest national football competition, but now their manager has hit out at Charles Breakspear for ‘influencing the result’.

Solihull were adjusted to have been given a ‘very fortuitous’ penalty with Adam Rooney making no mistake in putting the hosts ahead from the spot shortly after half time, but the League One side levelled through Jason Kerr before Callum Lang hit the winner after 104 minutes.

TV replays for the penalty incident showed any offence had instead seemingly been committed by a Solihull hand, say to Wigan Today, but the EFL side’s protests were given unsympathetic dismissal.

Wigan battled on determined to get back in the game after falling behind and managed to level the scoreline with 25 minutes remaining thanks to Gwion Edwards seeing his shot flicked home by Jason Kerr.

A record attendance of 3,703 at Solihull witnessed Wigan’s Callum Lang break the home support’s hearts when coming up with the winner in the 105th minute, getting the final touch to Max Power sending in a free kick.

Ardley, however said to the media post-match that the set-piece shouldn’t have been given.

“I’m proud of the boys, I thought we were excellent, the game-plan was spot on,” he said.

“I’m disappointed with their first goal, which was really scrappy, we headed it against each other and it took a deflection, etc. etc.

“And I’m also disappointed with the second goal.

“I teach my players to defend one-against-one, to get their bodies in the way, and not let their opponent get past them.

“My player’s done exactly that, he gets fouled, and the referee gives the free-kick to them, from which they score.

“For me, that’s disappointing, because that’s ruined what was a wonderful performance.

“It was everything you want from a cup tie, but ultimately I’m disappointed because I feel the referee has influenced the result.”

After being questioned on his own side’s luck in being awarded a penalty, Ardley replied: “I’ve spoken to my lads, and they did say their lad had got a hand to it.

“I’ve spoken to our analyst, and she said there was definitely a handball, but couldn’t see whose it was.”

Meanwhile, Leam Richardson spoke in delight as Wigan advanced into the second round of the FA Cup following a hard-fought victory against Solihull.

“The main thing is to qualify and be in the hat for Colchester away, but I thought credit goes to Solihull,” he said.

“They challenged us over the two games and we had to find a way. Sometimes you have to do that in the FA Cup, and although I thought the first goal is possibly a mistake by the officials, thankfully it didn’t affect the outcome.

“It was great for Solihull. 3,700 plus, which for an FA Cup tie under the lights on a Tuesday, is fantastic. You can see where they want to go as a Football Club and tonight was important that we respected ourselves and the opposition.

“The most important thing is that we got through tonight and now the preparations start for Saturday because we’ve got a big week, next week.”

“I have been fortunate to be at this Club and have had a really good cup run,” he added.

“We know what it means to the fans and it’s important that the lads knew that. I thought the intent of us wanting to win the game showed, although we were looking for a bit of quality going forward.”

“One of the lads mentioned it (the support) and you take it for granted sometimes, but we were certainly respectful before the game, and the lads showed their appreciation afterwards.

“We know it’s not easy and not cheap to follow your team around and every single supporter that does follow us, we’re really thankful. It’s great for them to see the ball hit the back of the net and that they were here to see us go through.”

Twitter users reacted as the Solihull boss blames the referee’s controversial decision for suffering an FA Cup defeat to Wigan…

@im_martinholden: Ardley worth listening to.

@PeterSimpson43: Absolute classic coming from the Mouth of Neil Ardley “I think the Referee influenced the game”. Too right he did, awarding a PENALTY for their own player handling the ball. #SolihullMoors were superb but disappointed with Ardley. #wafc #SMFC

@DeniseC1288: He couldn’t see who’s hand it was either 🤔

@WorthingtonBaz: Neil Ardley “I’m disappointed, the ref influenced the result” 🤦‍♂️😂😂😂🖐️

@MrEddieChaplin: Indeed he did.. he allowed Solihull a goal!

@cahorrocks: To be fair he did, But not in the way Ardley’s claiming!!

@neilupthetics: Oh well

@DavidHa99965109: He certainly did for them.

@Pons_Voice: Was giving them a pen when their player handball it not enough? What’s that thing about not looking a gifthorse in the mouth again? 🤣

@AdamHughes7: A lot to admire about how they went about both games but that was totally uncalled for especially given the ‘handball’ for the penalty 🤦🏼‍♂️ lacked class

@HarryBridges94: Is he for real

@gaz_tic: Credit to his team who were well organised and made it difficult for us over the 2 games. But that salty post match interview he did on ITV blaming the ref after his team were gifted a ridiculous pen was pretty embarrassing. Shame really as he spoke well beforehand.

@wafc_nathan: Was just thinking that he sounded like a good bloke, but that post-match interview sounds a bit off

@garyamassey: 🤣 what?

@davidjackson3: Made a right prat of himself in that interview. Shame as his interview before the game he seemed like a decent fella.

@rimmimgton: Man been watching same game as us, like did he not see their pen? Clearly clueless

@oakonthorns: Let’s be honest, if he admitted the penalty was the wrong decision, it negates his argument about the free kick as it would make it seem he accepted the referees’ decision. He knew the penalty wasn’t a penalty but he put himself into a corner complaining about the free kick

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