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Danny Cowley admitted failing to take anything from two promising away performances has left him concerned after Lincoln City’s defeat at Doncaster Rovers.
The Imps went down 2-1 at Keepmoat Stadium after substitute Jon Taylor’s late goal. Jorge Grant equalised for the Imps on 57 minutes, cancelling out Niall Ennis’s early opener for the home side.
Bruno Andrade and John Akinde wasted good chances for the visitors and, like in the 2-1 loss at MK Dons, there were plenty of positives to take from the performance.
However, the final result, plus referee Craig Hicks’ failure to award the Imps a penalty, left Cowley frustrated.
“We’ve seen the harsh realities of this division,” he said.
“We started well, but we were disappointed with our response after the [first] goal, which seemed to knock us, but it should not have knocked us because it was a moment of individual brilliance.
“We then got control back before half-time. You’ve got to remember Doncaster have been a Championship club and are a top-end League One club, but we had control of the game.
“We were disappointed with how we started the second half, but then scored, which made us significantly better.
“We were disappointed with the variables that we couldn’t control had such an influence on our performance.
“That’s something we have to look at going forward because we don’t want to be nearly men.
“The truth is, we’ve played two good games, have been significantly the better team, but have come away with no points. That worries me.”
Cowley was left aghast that his side were not awarded at least one penalty during the game.
The most controversial incident came when Bruno Andrade was pulled back on the edge of the box, with Hicks playing advantage.
The Portuguese winger then appeared to be fouled again, this time in the box, but the referee instead chose to award a free-kick on the edge.
“There are at least three penalties in that game,” said Cowley. “The one in the first half, the clumsy challenge in the box on Jason Shackell. He absolutely goes through the back of him. It’s just a foul.
“There’s one [appeal] on Tyler [Walker], there’s another on Shacks.
“There’s one on Bruno, he gets in and beats his man. The ref plays the advantage. Then, once he’s played the advantage, there’s a second foul in the area.
“If he plays the advantage, the last foul has gone. There’s a secondary foul in the box, that’s when it’s a penalty.
“He [the defender] had two pulls at him. The ref has massively cost us. He made the easy decisions all game and not the right ones.
“It’s hard because you don’t get decisions away from home. It’s hard to take because, even off the back of that free-kick, we had a clear-cut chance and missed it.
“That’s been the reality of our week.”