Lincoln boss Michael Appleton felt Bristol Rovers enjoyed ‘rub of the green’
Michael Appleton felt Bristol Rovers got the “rub of the green with the decisions” as Lincoln’s flawless start to the Sky Bet League One season was halted by a 2-1 defeat.
But the Imps boss also acknowledged his side made too many errors and lacked a cutting edge in the attacking third.
Appleton’s side took the lead a minute into the second half when defender Lewis Montsma headed home his sixth goal of the season.
Within 60 seconds of the restart, Rovers were level when James Daly headed home.
Then, in the 58th minute, Brandon Hanlan fired home from the penalty spot after the same player had been scythed down by Adam Jackson, although it was debatable whether the challenge occurred inside or outside the box.
Jackson was later sent off after picking up a second booking.
“The biggest thing we spoke about afterwards was frustration,” said Appleton.
“There were errors that we haven’t made in the first part of the season. The killer is that we concede the equaliser within 60 seconds (of taking the lead) and then there’s a lapse in concentration by one of the senior players (Jackson) in the team.
“It makes it difficult because you’re up against a side which knows how to defend deep. They made it difficult for us.”
Appleton believes Lincoln should have had a penalty in the first half when Conor McGrandles appeared to be bundled over in the box.
“It was a penalty, there are no ifs and buts,” said Appleton. “With the penalty they got, the contact was outside the box and he (Hanlan) jumped into the box.
“It was one of those days where they got the rub of the green with the decisions, but that’s part of football. As a team we can do better.
“The amount of times we were in the final third and the final pass let us down. They are things we can improve on.”
It was Rovers’ second win in a row and their first on their travels under manager Ben Garner.
“First half, we were good in possession but we probably didn’t create enough with it,” said Garner.
“We started the second half really badly. With the (Lincoln) goal there’s a couple of mistakes, but then a brilliant response to score straight away.
“We then get the penalty and get ahead. At that stage of the game we looked really good, but then a couple of heavy challenges on our players left them struggling.
“We had to grit our teeth and get through the game, but we defended really, really well. Probably could have managed the game a little bit better with the ball later on, but overall an excellent performance away from home.”