Bristol Rovers boss hits out at FA after ex-Sunderland turned Portsmouth striker escapes punishment over 'punch'

Bristol Rovers boss Graham Coughlan has criticised the FA after revealing there won't be any action following an alleged punch by Portsmouth striker James Vaughan.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 12:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 12:37 pm
Graham Coughlan. Getty Images.

Vaughan, who spent six months at Sunderland last season, joined Pompey in January and made his second appearance for Kenny Jackett's side on Tuesday night.

Portsmouth were held to a 1-1 draw by the Gas at Fratton Park, a result which saw them slip behind Sunderland in League One.

But it was Vaughan who dominated the headlines, with Coughlan accusing the striker, 30, of punching defender Tom Lockyer 17 minutes from time.

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Sunderland face Bristol Rovers away on Saturday looking to build on the 4-2 win over Gillingham in midweek.

And speaking at his pre-match press conference, Coughlan has revealed the FA won't be taking any action against Vaughan.

He told the Bristol Post: "Yes, they [the FA] have decided that you can now punch players on the football pitch and get away with it.

"Four officials missed it at the time, the fourth official should see it, because he’s right down my eye-line and I’ve seen it, and they’ve told us that they won’t be taking any action against what’s gone on.

"That’s fine, that’s fine but I just hope that we aren’t setting a precedent that it’s one rule for one.

"They’ve already sent us down to Pompey on a date of Pompey’s choice, on Tuesday night, rather than a preferred date.

"So that’s another issue we’ve had, but they’re all minor issues, but again, we know they’re [the FA] going to bend over backwards for the big boys."

When asked 'It’s one thing if the referee misses it but when there’s the video [review] and still no action, is that what disappoints you?' Coughlan added: "It does, yeah, it does. Because I guarantee if it was one of their players [Portsmouth] then they would be taking action [against the player].

"But look, that’s the way it is and that’s what we’re up against and that’s what will have to go on.

"But every proper football fan up and down the country will view that, will see that, and will have their own mind set, thought process on it and I guarantee everyone will be thinking along the same lines as myself."

On the threat posed by Sunderland, Coughlan added: "Sunderland are a team that will, more likely, get promoted.

"They’re one of the bigger teams [in League One], massive, massive tradition and massive fan-base.

"Again, they’ve got big wallets so I guess Sunderland will have class all over the pitch. They’ll have quality all over the pitch, that’s what you pay for, that’s what you get when you put your hand in your pocket.

"We’re based on honesty, we’re based on hard work, and we’re based on grafters.

"I’ve we can bring our game and nullify their game, we may give ourselves a chance [of winning].

"Sometimes tactics come into it, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m just asking the lads to go out and enjoy this period, enjoy the games against big opposition because we’ve proven, even we haven’t been on the right end of results that we can compete against the big boys, we can outplay them, and we can outfight them.

"We’ve proven that this season, but once again, the important thing is the end result."