NEWPORT County’s players and management were angered after a controversial penalty denied them three points against promotion chasing Burton Albion, with assistant boss Jimmy Dack claiming the visitors ‘conned’ the referee.

The Exiles produced one of their best displays of the campaign against the fourth-placed side in League Two, but couldn’t hold on to their 1-0 lead courtesy of a thunderbolt from Andy Sandell as the visitors equalised through a hotly-disputed penalty.

Former Wales international Darcy Blake appeared highly unlucky to have been adjudged to foul Dominic Knowles who seemed to go to ground very easily under pressure and both Max Porter and County assistant Jimmy Dack admitted they were dumfounded by Mr Malone’s decisions.

Manager Justin Edinburgh sought an audience with the referee at the final whistle and was too angered by the decision to speak with the Welsh media.

“It’s frustration for us, we are disappointed with the goal, we thought it was a very soft penalty and we saw it again at half time on the monitor and it didn’t change our view,” he said.

“The referee made a big decision and it was costly on our behalf.

“I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think I know what a penalty is nowadays, I really don’t, and I think it now seems to be a penalty depending on how well a player can con the referee.

“There is nothing in that incident, Darcy is standing his ground and the reaction of the Burton bench said it all, they didn’t expect the ref to give a penalty.

“We thought he might level it up, but Lee Minshull was fouled in the box later in the game and was too honest, he tried to stay on his feet so the ref didn’t give it.”

Porter also spoke for the dressing room and admitted the Exiles felt aggrieved.

“I don’t think it was a penalty, not only that but it wasn’t even a free kick in the build-up to the goal, it was given against me but I never even touched the player,” he said.

“It should’ve been stopped at source and then Darcy didn’t do a lot wrong, the player made a meal of it and we’ve paid the price.

“The referee wasn’t consistent and we feel he made a mistake. We don’t always know as players now what is or isn’t a foul, players are looking for an advantage all the time and it’s getting more difficult.

“Players like Luis Suarez, who is the best at it, use contact as a way to gain an advantage in the game and that’s making it very difficult.

“It was soft and it’s frustrating for us.”