Gary Johnson: We weren't the only ones to have a big decision go against us

Torbay Weekly

Surely, the luck has got to turn for us on refereeing decisions, hopefully sooner than later.

We all left Wealdstone last weekend - no fans there, of course - feeling like we were 'robbed' when our winning 'goal' was disallowed near the end.

From the moment it happened, we thought on the touchline that the linesman had got it wrong - he flagged that the ball had gone out of play before Connor Lemonheigh-Evans crossed it for Keelan O'Connell to score.

There was the TV 'stream', but our analyst Louie Birkenshaw also makes our own film of every game.

We looked at that as soon as we got back in the dressing-room, and you could see absolutely that the goal should have stood.

The linesman was 30 yards away on the other side of the pitch, with two posts and players in between, and on the highlights package you can probably hear me shouting: "How can he see that?"

I think you could call it a travesty of justice.

If I criticise officials and their decisions now and again, I don't do it personally - as I said on Saturday, I know they're not bad people.

I always try to be constructive, because all we want at the end of the day is better referees and linesmen making better decisions.

Nobody ever gets better in any walk of life without a bit of criticism from time to time.

We weren't the only ones to have a big decision go against us.

There was no VAR at Wealdstone of course, but there is in the Premier League, which made that 'no handball' by Rodri of Manchester City at Everton all the harder for everyone to get their heads round.

It was still no consolation for us that someone else was hard done by.

I always say that hindsight makes everyone experts in football, and Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea made a call in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday that was a perfect example of 'You're a hero if it turns out right and a villain if it goes wrong'.

He took his goalkeeper Mendy off at the end of extra-time against Liverpool and sent on Arrizabalaga just for the penalty shoot-out.

It's not something I've ever done myself.

In a way, I think it's a bit disrespectful to the other goalkeeper.

Did Arrizabalaga warm up energetically enough - he didn't look like he really wanted to dive around that goalmouth.

One way or another, he just didn't look right, either in goal or taking that last kick.

But if he'd made one save and not missed the last one, everyone would be calling Mr Tuchel a genius.

That's hindsight for you!

We have to get ready for a big game at home to Bromley this Saturday.

But in the morning our under-18s play Yeovil Town in their cup semi-final at South Devon College (10.30am), and I would encourage any of our supporters to go along.

Chris Todd's team is playing some really good stuff, and the next few months are important for those boys.

Bridging the gap from youth to senior and first-team football is tough.

You've got to be something special nowadays to be a first-team player at 17 or 18.

Some early developers look physically like 'men' at 18, while the 'late' ones often have lots of skill and ability but aren't ready for men's football.

And the National League is absolutely a men's league.

Without an under-21 or under-23 team, we have to judge who we think has got the potential, in the next year or two, to come through to the first team.

That also has to do with character and personality, as well as ability.

Myself, Aaron Downes and Chris are very aware of all those things.

We've done a lot of youth work over the years, we try and create an environment for the boys to show us the best of themselves and then make the right decisions at the right time.

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