'VAR gives it as a goal' - McKenna on Portsmouth stalemate

Macauley Bonne reacts after his late goal was disallowed.

Macauley Bonne reacts after his late goal was disallowed. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna believes his team were disallowed a legitimate late winner in this afternoon's 0-0 home draw with Portsmouth.

The Blues look to have sealed all three points in a crunch match when substitute Macauley Bonne turned the ball in from close-range in the 88th minute.

Luke Woolfenden was rightly flagged offside at the initial deep free-kick delivery, but replays showed it was clearly Cameron Burgess who helped the ball back across goal for an onside Bonne to convert.

"Look, I think if there's VAR then it's probably given as a goal," said McKenna. "That's my understanding of it.

"I can understand why the linesman put his flag up because Luke was offside when the cross was taken and he did move towards the ball.

"I don't know if the referee got a spot on who touched the ball or not, but the players are adamant that Luke didn't touch it and it was Cam who got the ball.

"Then I think, by the laws of the game, because Luke is behind the ball and didn't touch it and wasn't in the keeper's eyeline, then it should be a goal.

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"That's the margins. If that goes in then we're saying 'really good performance, credit to the players for digging in'. I don't think we've scored many, if any, from set-plays, so that's something we need to keep working on. The delivery was good today and that could easily have been a really important winner from a set-piece.

"But I can understand the linesman putting his flag up and unfortunately they weren't able to relook at the situation."

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says his full focus on finishing this season as strongly as possible. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

The Blues boss continued: "I thought it was a game we deserved to win. I thought we were the better team, especially in the second half. I thought first half was more evn but I still thought we were better.

"Obviously it was difficult circumstances with having to make two subs in the first half (Sam Morsy and Kayden Jackson both going off injured) - two very important players for us who give us a lot of our penetration in different ways. That made things even more challenging on top of the issues we've had this week (George Edmundson picking up an injury in Tuesday night's win against Lincoln).

"I'm proud of the efforts of the players. I thought we regrouped really well at half-time and second half we put on a good performance. We dominated most, if not all aspects of the game and just din't find that extra little margin to score the goal.

"Obviously we went close once or twice. We went close with the offside goal which, on another day, I think easily could have been given.

"We had our first chance very early in the game and we had a chance very late in the game too. I thought we chipped away and knocked at the door right the way through the 90 minutes. 

"We created more chances and better chances than the opposition again. I think we did enough to win the three points. It just didn't manage to go our way.

"We obviously could have created more chances, but I thought there was a lot more positives aspects to how we went about our business than negatives."

Town have now kept 11 clean sheets in 15 games under McKenna's management, but a draw sees the gap to the League One play-off places grow to five points with plenty of teams around them having a game or two in hand.

McKenna, whose side have drawn against MK Dons, Cheltenham, Morecambe and Portsmouth during a nine-game unbeaten run, said: "I don't think this is an opinion, I think it's fact that we've been the better team in all the draws that we've had. We've had much more chances, shots and led in every indicator. We're disappointed to have drawn today, but it keeps the consistency of the application, keeps the consistency of the performances and we just have to keep plugging away."

With Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland, Oxford and Plymouth all winning today, he added: "We can only control what we can control. There are teams around us picking up an unusual amount of points. We don't have a crystal ball on what's going to be required. 

"We're on two points a game, but I feel like our performances are not too far off three points a game to be honest. Certainly over the last five or six we probably could and should have won every game.

"But we haven't managed to do that. It is what it is. We just have to keep working on trying to improve, keep working on ourselves and try as best as we can to get a team ready for Oxford (away next Saturday)."