Lee Bowyer accused Shrewsbury of time-wasting and claimed Carlton Morris should have been sent off after watching Charlton lose 1-0 in the first leg of their Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final.
Jon Nolan’s fine 80th-minute strike gave the Shrews a crucial advantage ahead of Sunday’s second leg at the Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium, where Bowyer insists his Addicks will recover and reach the Wembley final.
Shrewsbury had delayed play in the first half while Charlton had regularly threatened, and after Morris remained on the pitch following a challenge on Jason Pearce that the hosts’ interim manager felt should have been a second yellow card, they secured their winning goal.
“They were wasting time, taking five minutes to take a goal-kick at the beginning,” said Bowyer. “The game’s only just starting and they’re wasting time.
“I don’t believe in doing things like that. If you’re winning 1-0 with 10 minutes to go then I understand it – not from the beginning.
“You’ve got 180 minutes to play but it is what it is. That was their game plan.
“The referee (Simon Hooper) could have done a hell of a lot more on a lot more occasions. How that Morris never got sent off is beyond me.
“He nearly took Patrick Bauer’s head off, and then he comes and takes (Jason) Pearce out – yellow card.
“The ref did well apart from that but he could have hurried the keeper up.
“The amount of time-wasting they were doing, and they still only put up four minutes (of stoppage time). I don’t get it.
“I’m new to this so it’s even more frustrating – at least when you’re on the pitch you can actually ask while you’re there.
“Then the fourth official (Andy Davies) just keeps agreeing with me, which makes it even worse, because I’m thinking, ‘Why can’t you tell him then? If you agree, tell him’.
“But it’s not about the refs, it’s about two teams trying to get to Wembley.
“There’s a long way to go yet, still 90 minutes to play. We went up there not so long ago and won by two.
“I told (my team), ‘You didn’t deserve to lose’. That’s my honest opinion. My side is still better than their side. They beat us but my team is better. We will go there on Sunday and turn things around.”
Shrewsbury manager Paul Hurst was asked about Bowyer’s comments, and he responded: “I’m surprised. He’s a very, very experienced player, now manager.
“We were never going to come and rush things when you’ve got 180 minutes to play. I’ve seen teams do a hell of a lot worse.”
Asked how wary he was of the threat still posed by Charlton, who only last month visited them and won 2-0, he said: “Very. They have got more than anybody, individual players, on the bench or starting, who can produce a bit of magic out of anything. Any team equipped like that is a dangerous one.
“The boring cliche is that it’s only half-time.”