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York City boss Gary Mills 'aggrieved' over nature of Capital One Cup penalty exit
YORK City manager Gary Mills was left “aggrieved” after his side were denied the opportunity to take penalties in front of their own fans at Doncaster Rovers.
The Minstermen were knocked out of the Capital One Cup at the Keepmoat Stadium after 90 minutes and extra time could not separate the two teams with Michael Coulson’s 67th-minute goal being cancelled out by a Chris Brown spot kick, conceded by Lee Bullock.
But the subsequent penalty shoot-out was played out in front of home fans at an end designated as the safest by police.
Coulson and substitute Matty Blair went on to fire their 12-yard efforts over the bar as Rovers secured a 4-2 triumph, leaving Mills to question why referee Graham Salisbury had not informed him that the hosts would be handed that advantage prior to kick off.
The City chief said: “The police decided that the penalties had to be taken at that end but that didn’t make sense to me. I thought that would have been decided by a toss-up so I felt a bit aggrieved about it.
“I don’t understand why the police have to get involved and, if that was going to be the case, we should have been told before kick off because we worked hard to get through extra-time.
“That’s perhaps a learning curve for the referee but there’s no point in going on about that because we’ve been knocked out now.
“Penalties cost us at the end of the day – they stuck theirs in and two of our players ballooned them over the bar.
“We also conceded a silly one in normal time and, while I wouldn’t quite say we were comfortable, I couldn’t see them scoring before that and I was confident we could keep a clean sheet.”
Mills added the Minstermen’s performance against a club that were plying their trade three divisions higher than his team last season bodes well for the new League Two campaign, which kicks off at home to Wycombe on Saturday.
The City boss said: “I’m gutted because we lost the game but there were a lot of positives. We showed that we should not fear anybody this season if we play like that.
“Doncaster were relegated from the Championship last season but we worked hard and got our noses in front with a great goal. If it had been a 90-minute game, we would have been coming away with a draw from Doncaster and, a few years ago, we would have also got a replay but that’s not the case now.”
Mills went on to praise debutant Coulson, who, prior to his penalty miss, marked the start to his competitive City career with a spectacular opening goal.
“Couls did well,” Mills said. “He worked hard and topped it off with a great goal. He’s started to score in the last few weeks. He’s a player who will keep going but he’s got that bit of quality to do what he did as well and I was delighted with him.”
The City boss added playing two hours of football could now aid his team’s preparations ahead of the meeting with Wycombe.
“You can look at the match as an extension of our pre-season and a fantastic workout for next weekend,” he reasoned. “We’ve played for two hours and we will now need to give our players the right amount of training and rest.
“I wanted to progress in the competition and, hopefully, get one of the big sides for finances but we will be ready for a fantastic game for a fantastic football club on Saturday.”