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Michael Flynn Blasts EFL After Newport County Denied In Wembley Play-Off Controversy

Michael Flynn gave a scathing verdict on EFL officials after seeing his battling but beaten Newport County side denied a place in League One next season.

The County manager was furious that a key penalty decision went against his team as they lost their League Two play-off final 1-0 to Tranmere Rovers at Wembley.

Before they were reduced to 10-men, Newport were pressing for the first goal of the game when referee Ross Joyce refused to award an 85th-minute penalty even though Emmanuel Monthe clearly tripped County striker Jamille Matt as he tried to go past the defender.

Flynn questioned why the EFL had not been using VAR technology, even though the game was staged at Wembley where the equipment exists. He also suggested Joyce was a poor choice of referee as more experienced, high profile officials should have been made available.

Flynn said: “We are at the home of football, Wembley, we have got VAR, we have got equipment, we have got referees who are full-time referees and a big decision today has absolutely killed us.

“It is a stonewall penalty and I cannot believe it was not given. That is my frustration. We have seen the replay, 100 per-cent penalty.

“It is a very poor decision, it is a play-off final, you can’t get big decisions like that wrong. It is not a Mickey Mouse game.

“I hope that they bring it in for the next two games because you don’t want big decisions going against teams and costing them promotion.

“We have got the facilities here, they want the final at Wembley, there is 25,000 here, there is 8,000 for the Conference, if they are not going to use all the facilities at hand, what is the point of having them here?

“I’m devastated for the players – they’ve given me their all. I want to congratulate Tranmere, they’ve had a very good season. But, it’s a common occurrence where big errors are happening.

“This is a play-off final – you need better referees. They want improvements in football so why isn’t VAR being used? They’ve got the facilities. It’s a stonewall penalty if I’ve ever seen one. It’s not good enough. That would have been game over.”

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Newport battled courageously after being reduced to 10 men just before the end of normal time when skipper Mark O’Brien was sent off for a second yellow card offence.

But weary lags and lax marking eventually allowed Connor Jennings to score a last-gasp extra-time winner to fire Tranmere to victory and break Newport hearts.

The midfielder struck in the 119th minute with a header at the far post to finally break the resistance of their 10-man opposition in extra time, with penalties looming.

It means Tranmere have earned back-to-back promotions through the play-offs, having returned to the Football League only last year with a victory at the same stadium.

They will play in League One next season for the first time since 2014, while Newport’s wait for a return to the third tier for the first time since 1987, before their reformation, goes on.

Tranmere manager Micky Mellon described Jennings’ story as one from a comic book after he earned Rovers victory.

It came just a fortnight after his grandad died and 12 months on from going from being in a coma to helping his side win promotion from the National League a week later.

Mellon said: “I am so pleased for him, I don’t want to get too romantic and emotional but he has had a tough couple of weeks.

“He lost his grandad, we never even knew. He just went out and played against Forest Green (in the semi-final).

“We knew something was up with him, he wasn’t himself and he just went out and played and we found out later on that his grandad had died that day.

“We knew he was a tough cookie. A story like that is what football is all about, I am really pleased for him.

“If you’d have told me everything that happened to him I’d have said it was from a comic book.”

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