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Shrewsbury Town boss Paul Hurst left astonished by handball fiasco

By Lewis Cox | Shrewsbury Town FC | Published: | Last Updated:

Bemused Shrewsbury chief Paul Hurst revealed his astonishment that all four officials were unable to identify Walsall defender Jon Guthrie as the handball guilty party after Town drew 1-1 at the Banks's Stadium.

Paul Hurst (AMA)

Dan Agyei's 13th minute opener was cancelled out by Town, who earned a spot-kick four minutes later after Stefan Payne's header was blocked by Guthrie's outstretched arm.

After a brief pause, referee Graham Salisbury pointed to the spot, but more debate followed with his assistant before no further punishment was given.

In a cagey derby, roared on by more than 1,600 travelling Shrewsbury fans, leaders Town extended their superb unbeaten run to 12 games.

"You (press) know who it was - and that's where the problem lies," said a frustrated Hurst.

"Between the four of the officials they couldn't decide who it was so therefore couldn't send a player off.

"Whether there's any more debate, they were trying to claim a push, but having given the penalty, the reason why no-one was sent off was because they hadn't identified the player.

"It was 20 minutes in, obviously that's a massive advantage to have for that length of time.

"In a day and age where, I was asked recently about video referees, that's a case for it.

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"I know about finance coming into it but I just find it quite remarkable that they're looking at the incident and can't get it right.

"But I think both sets of fans and managers will share the same view on some of the officiating today.

"I couldn't quite get to grips with some of the decisions, for both teams.

"But that was a major decision, having given the penalty it seems astonishing they can't get the person responsible for the handball."

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Chances were few and far between in a tight second-half. Town's lead at the top of League One is cut to two points following Wigan's win at Scunthorpe.

After Payne tucked away the penalty, his seventh goal of the season, he had an effort cleared off the line before a fierce volley was ruled out for offside.

But the Town boss believed a draw was a fair result on the balance of play.

"I didn't see the offside so have no qualms, it was just a great finish," added Hurst.

"I thought we started slowly but came back into it. In the second-half I was looking for more of a response from the players. I suppose it opened up a little bit but we were grateful to a fantastic save from Craig at the end.

"The script was almost written with Tyler getting his head on it.

"A draw was probably a fair result. I'm not sure either team did enough to win it.

"I'm getting greedy. I feel a bit disappointed because I didn't feel we played as well as we have been doing. But I know it's a very tough place to come, their home record's excellent, an outstanding one.

"A lot of other teams have come here and got a worse result. Having gone behind, it was our usual trend to have a quick response, which we got."

Lewis Cox

By Lewis Cox
Trainee Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @lewiscox_star

Sports reporter with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Covering Shrewsbury Town and with a keen eye for non-league and grassroots.

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