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Twice denied Middlesbrough striker Ashley Fletcher explains why his 'perfectly legal' goals were chalked off; ' I don't like to criticise officials but obviously we've been hard done by," says frustrated frontman who had two goals disallowed.

Byline: Anthony Vickers

Frustrated frontman Ashley Fletcher insists Boro should have had victory in the bag against Brentford.

"In my eyes we had two perfectly legal goals and they weren't given," said the striker after twice being denied by controversial calls in the 1-0 Riverside defeat to the Bees.

The striker first pounced on 20 minutes when Boro were bossing the game, reacting quickly to dart onto a quickly taken Marvin Johnson corner but Brentford defender Julien Janvier got just in front of him and appeared to bundle it home.

Fletcher peeled away in jubilation with team mates down in front of the supporters fans in the South Stand but that was cut short.

"I was down at the bottom end with the fans, and I looked and saw the linesman waving his flag and I didn't believe it," he explained.

"As far as I'm concerned, the defender was in front of me, and I thought the final touch came off his head.

"I've gone off celebrating thinking that we were 1-0 up, but obviously the linesman has seen something we haven't. I can't understand it."

Under the new interpretation of the rules a deliberate handball has meant an automatic yellow card this season but Fletcher went unpunished which deepened the confusion over the call.

"I saw the linesman pointing to his arm, so I was thinking, 'If it a handball then I'm going to get booked," said Fletcher.

"But the referee didn't book me. That's where I was confused as well. If he's given it against me for handball, why hasn't he booked me?

"James Collins was booked for exactly that at Luton last week when they had one ruled out against us.

"It was really frustrating. We were really controlling the game at that point, and to have got that goal would have been really good.

"It's those fine margins isn't it? We go 1-0 up and it's a different game."

Lightning struck twice for unfortunate Fletcher as he had a second 'goal' ruled out soon after, this time for offside.

The alert hitman made a well timed run to reach a ball over the top and looped a neat flick past the advancing keeper and again wheeled away in celebration to once more be cruelly cut short by the linesman.

A post-match video review confirmed the striker's initial thoughts: he was onside.

"I've just looked at it and I'm at least two or three yards on," he said. "I thought I was at the time. I was sure I was.

"Again, it's the frustration. The officials have a really tough job and I don't like to criticise them, but obviously we've been hard done by.

"If we had gone into the break 2-0 up, it would have been a completely different game.

"It's difficult to take. We've lost the game and we don't want to lose games, but overall I thought the first half was fantastic.

"It was breathless, pressing the life out of Brentford, and we were creating a lot of opportunities.

"There were my two, Britt hit the post as well, plus Paddy McNair put one just past the post . We could easily have been 3-0 or 4-0 up.

"The manager just said at half-time we had been fantastic and that the tempo and the way we closed Brentford down was brilliant.

"He just said carry on like that but unfortunately, we didn't do that in the first ten minutes and that's when they obviously got their goal.

"Teams like that will punish you. They only need a couple of opportunities. But we can't dwell on it.

"It's evident for the fans to see, the way we are playing this season is definitely easier on the eye.

"We're taking more risks, which is part and parcel of it. Sometimes, we might be a bit stretched, but at the same time, we're creating a lot of opportunities as well.

"That first half was how we want to be play. We could feel that we were on top of Brentford, and we never really looked like conceding.

"It was one-way traffic but you've got to score when you're on top."

Jonathan Woodgate demands VAR in the Championship after TWO decisions sting Boro against Brentford

A 'New Chapter' suffers sticky start but the unfolding Middlesbrough narrative may prove interesting

CAPTION(S):

Boro striker Ashley Fletcher questions why a goal had been disallowed for the second time in the game against Brentford

Ashley Fletcher of Middlesbrough realises his goal is ruled out during the Riverside clash with Brentford

Ashley Fletcher has a second goal disallowed in the Riverside defaet to Brentford

Paddy McNair goes close with a sizzling low shot against Brentford
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 11, 2019
Words:783
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