30 July 2022

Paul Hurst rues penalty decision as Grimsby lose on Football League return

30 July 2022

Paul Hurst insisted a contentious penalty award changed the game after Grimsby were beaten 2-0 by Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road.

Grimsby, back in the Football League after a season’s absence, had battled well in the first half but George Moncur converted a penalty for a handball offence three minutes after the interval and Tom James doubled the O’s lead with a wonder-strike from 30 yards.

“I thought the penalty was harsh at the time,” Hurst said.

“I have seen it back and it looks like it hits our player’s arm but his arm is behind him, so I have asked the officials and they told me if it hits his arm in an unnatural position then it’s a penalty.

“I’m not sure what a defender is meant to do in that situation, so for me it’s getting a bit silly now.

“As long as we get them when these things happen and it’s consistent then we will see a hell of a lot of penalties, but I thought it was harsh.

“Today we have lost to a penalty and a wonder-strike. It was a great strike for their second goal, albeit we needed to control the ball better. We will get away with that more often than not but today we didn’t.

“I saw two sides of our game. One aspect I was quite happy with, but when we went two-nil down I was disappointed with how we went about trying to get back in the game.

“It’s not easy where we have some new players in and changes to the squad, but we want that never-say-die attitude and we just dropped off today where I felt Orient saw the game out much more comfortably than I wanted.”

A delighted Orient boss Richie Wellens said: “The most important thing was us getting the winning start today.

“A home game with a good crowd and I have been involved in a few of these over the years which can be a damp squib, so I’m delighted as there will be teams up and down the country today feeling when that next win is coming.

“At times we were very good but overall I would give us 6 out of 10, which is a massive positive because we could have had a lot of goals today.

“It was a fantastic strike from Tom James. We see it all the time in training. He’s a player I have tried to sign a couple of times previously but I have been lucky, he was here when I had inherited the squad.

“I’ve not looked back at the penalty incident, the handball rule now, well nobody really knows.”

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