‘Strong and vocal’ – rival manager verdict of Chester FC supporters

Telford manager Kevin Wilkin suggested a ‘strong and passionate’ Chester FC support helped the Seals come back to claim a 1-1 draw against his side at the Deva Stadium on New Year’s Day.

Wilkin’s side finished the game with nine men as Chester recovered from Harry Flowers’ 27th-minute opener to equalise through Joe Lynch in injury time in front of a crowd of more than 3,000,

The Telford boss felt that home support may have been influential when Montel Gibson was sent off on 65 minutes for catching Alex Brown in the face with a stray arm, and questioned whether the home crowd also played a part when Adam Senior was booked for time wasting on 87 minutes, his second yellow card.

The manager told his club’s YouTube channel: “I don’t think Montel has deliberately elbowed the lad there. I think they have made a bit of it. The referee in that situation….we are away from home in front of a strong and passionate home crowd. If the referee wants to make that decision, I think we all know what he is going to do when he is given that opportunity to do it.

“I would like to see it again. I appreciate the referee only gets one moment in that situation to make a decision. He (Gibson) has allowed the ref to make a decision and that has put us on the back foot.

“But the second one is just disappointing. If you want to make a case for time wasting, to do it to a player who is already on a yellow card…….there are ten others still out there that he could make that point to. I don’t think there is any intention of time wasting going on there.

“Again, is he influenced by the strong and vocal home support? I would question that.

“You want the referees to be strong and fair, and I only ever want a fair test. But look, those things have happened and we have to get on with it. The lads have got on with it, they haven’t felt sorry for themselves, they have battled hard to the end and can be incredibly proud of their efforts.”

The Chester supporters had voiced their disapproval about what they felt were Telford tactics to slow the game down.

Former Brackley boss Wilkin, who is reviving the bottom-of-the league team’s fortunes following his appointment in October, made no apologies for a pragmatic approach.

He said: “I can understand it was probably a bit slow at times. I have been on the receiving end of that in many games and it can be frustrating, it is not always the greatest spectacle but the most important thing to us is trying to win games. However that looks, it is finding a way to win games.

“We have struggled at that all season. Clearly we have, we are bottom of the league.

“It is part and parcel of it. Yes, it is incredibly frustrating and annoying and it’s not always what you want to be on the end of but sometimes it has to happen. We need to continue to grind and earn the right. That is where we find ourselves at the moment.

“Hopefully in coming weeks and months we are a little more progressive and we can play to a faster tempo and an increased pace.”

The manager was frustrated not to have taken all three points but said a draw away to Calum McIntyre’s fourth-placed Chester is a step in the right direction.

He said: “Chester are a really good side. Calum has got them moving the right way and playing the right way. They are a tough side to keep out and the lads worked really hard, made good decisions in tight moments and that is a real positive.

“We were minutes or seconds away from keeping another clean sheet which is a real positive if we can continue to do that we will give ourselves a real chance in every game.”

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