Matthew Bates believes Hartlepool United more than matched promotion favourites Salford City despite a three-goal defeat, report the Hartlepool Mail.

And the Pools boss thinks two controversial calls from referee Marc Edwards and his officials decided the fate of last night’s clash. On the evening three second-half strikes in the space of 10 minutes from Danny Lloyd, Adam Rooney and Tom Walker ensured Pools left the north west empty-handed. But Bates feels his side were hard done to twice at the Peninsula Stadium.

“He (Mark Kitching) is convinced (the ball went out). The lad who has crossed it is also convinced,” said Bates about an incident in the run up to the opener.

“Not only that the linesman has told me, when he was going past the dugouts, that he thought it was a penalty on Marcus Dinanga (after the striker appeared to be shoved in the back in the area).”

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