Exeter City manager Matt Taylor left puzzled by late Cambridge United winner in FA Cup clash

Exeter City manager Matt Taylor was left disappointed by a controversial decision that resulted in his side’s FA Cup exit at Cambridge United.

Harvey Knibbs scored a header with three minutes remaining from Wes Hoolahan’s cross to give the U’s a 2-1 win at the Abbey.

Having initially been flagged as offside, the goal was given following consultation between the officials, and Taylor could not understand why the decision had been overturned.

“It’s controversial in relation to the offside decision, which the linesman gave, and then the referee’s subsequent decision to change that first decision,” Taylor said.

“I still don’t fully understand it, because there was an offside player five yards out from goal, in the middle of the goal, who jumped for the cross, and that was given offside.

“He’s affected our backline and goalkeeper, hence why the linesman gave offside, and a player from behind him in amongst the pack has come and scored the goal.

“I’ve got no qualms if that player’s not there four yards out from the goal jumping for the ball, but that affects our goalkeeper, our centre-half and the whole group, and that’s why it was given offside.

“Do I know the laws in terms of the offside rule? I don’t think anyone does at the moment. It felt like they overcomplicated what I thought was quite a simple situation.

“The linesman saw that player didn’t head the ball, but he put his flag up because he was in an offside position affecting the play.

“If the referee says to me, which he just has, about the next phase of play, when it’s only gone a yard over his head and two yards further on the cross, how that can be a real excuse as to why that decision’s made is beyond me.

“I could stand here talking all day and I don’t think we’d still understand that decision.”

The Grecians had led at the Abbey through Sam Nombe’s early penalty, before Adam May restored parity for United.

The League Two side created plenty of opportunities throughout the game, particularly in injury-time which they were unable to convert, and Taylor rued his side’s missed chances in the contest.

“We had a threat about us all afternoon,” he added.

“The second half period before that goal which Cambridge got, we created at will, and should’ve had more conviction in and around those moments to put the ball in the back of the net.

“Even actually when they scored, Padraig (Amond), Jevani (Brown) and MJ (Matt Jay) [missed chances], we’ve got to make it happen in terms of getting that ball in the back of the net.”

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