Preston North End manager Alex Neil was left frustrated and disappointed after a ‘suspect’ decision cost his side what would have been a hard-working point against West Bromwich Albion.
The North End boss’ tactics looked to have secured a point from the team who returned to the top of the EFL Championship, only for a dive from substitute Kyle Edwards to earn the Baggies an injury-time penalty, awarded by match official Oliver Langford.
Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game the gaffer was most disappointed that that was how his side ending up losing the game: “Our biggest frustration and disappointment is that we have lost to a controversial moment,” said the Scot. “If it is done through a bit of quality from the opposition it is easier to take, but the fact it is such a contentious decision makes it frustrating.
“The referee has made his decision on what he has seen, but by all accounts, even listening to the lads in the [Sky Sports] studio, I don’t think many people think it was a penalty.
“To lose it in that way, I feel really sorry for the players, because I thought their work ethic, how diligent we were and our shape was good – we worked really hard and denied them any space and any real opportunities when you thought they should have scored, which is quite a feat against them, I thought we deserved something from the game.
“There is not much more to say about it – the referee has made his decision, rightly or wrongly, and that has been the deciding factor.”
The manager’s options were limited with Paul Gallagher and Patrick Bauer adding to those already missing, adding further annoyance for the Lilywhites’ chief.
“A lot of things went against us tonight, not necessarily just in the game, but losing key players in key areas,” he continued. “To be fair to the lads who came in – the likes of Hunty [Paul Huntington], Jordan [Storey] and Alan [Browne] filling in; I thought they did really well. I am just disappointed more than anything.
“A lot of credit has to go to the lads in front of the back four as well. We do a lot of pressing from the front, which denies the space in behind and they have to squeeze the lines and be aggressive winning their headers, but I thought DJ in terms of triggering that press did great and Seani did great.
“It wasn’t a vintage performance by us, by any means, but we did it in a different manner.
“We thought being robust and keeping it tight, being difficult to beat, going direct, playing off second balls, getting it wide and putting the ball in the box, gave us the best chance of getting a result and that proved to be the case.
“We had a couple of opportunities that we didn’t make the best of and a refereeing decision that is suspect has cost us the game.
“The fact we had so many missing for me is the most frustrating thing. That is the third time we have played West Brom since I have been here and we have never had a full compliment of players to go and show what we can do, so that is really frustrating.
“Nearly all the injuries are not very long term and are all different, so we are hopeful we are going to get a couple back as soon as possible and we just need to get them back and if we work as hard as we did tonight, we will be okay,” he added.