Everton boss David Moyes has sympathy with Sunderland’s Martin O’Neill over Howard Webb’s disputed penalty

Everton's Leon Osman wins a penalty after going down in the penalty area as Sunderland's Lee Cattermole pressures him.
Everton's Leon Osman wins a penalty after going down in the penalty area as Sunderland's Lee Cattermole pressures him.
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DAVID Moyes felt opposite number Martin O’Neill had every right to be aggrieved at Howard Webb’s howler at the Stadium of Light yesterday.

The referee’s wrong call for the penalty which got Everton back on level terms against Sunderland was ultimately the difference between the Merseysiders going home empty-handed or collecting a valuable away point.

And Moyes was refreshingly honest in admitting the spot-kick was unjust.

“It was a terrible decision by the referee and Martin O’Neill has every right to feel hard done by,” said the Scot.

“I’ve seen the replays and it’s clearly not a penalty kick.

“In real time, from my perspective on the halfway line, I thought it was.

“But when you see it again, there’s no getting away from the fact it’s a poor decision.”

Moyes, though, also pointed out that his side had arguably been worth a point.

“I thought we played really well for the first 25-30 minutes,” he said.

“We were the better team but couldn’t capitalise on our good possession and play in that opening spell – which was a shame because we passed the ball well and carved out a couple of chances where we had clear headers on goal but couldn’t get anything from them.

“In the end, we paid for it.

“It ended up with us conceding an own goal – the ball taking a big deflection from a Sunderland shot and going in.

“Credit to Sunderland – they were better in the second half – but I think overall, maybe a draw is a fair result.

“Personally, I have to be pleased with the result because it’s a hard time to come to Sunderland.

“They’ve got a new manager, they’ve got a bit of momentum and they are getting results.”

Moyes knew however that – fair result or not – Everton had received a timely Christmas gift, especially given the fact that goals are not their strong point.

No team in the league had scored fewer away goals than the Toffeemen going into the festive fixtures, so Webb’s blunder was welcome.

“Lack of goals is a massive concern for us right now,” Moyes conceded, grateful to have been handed one on a plate.