Sam Allardyce blasts ‘big error’ by referee as Sunderland slump to WBA defeat

Seb Larsson and Yann M'Vila protest to ref Martin Atkinson over West Brom's winning goal. Picture by Frank Reid
Seb Larsson and Yann M'Vila protest to ref Martin Atkinson over West Brom's winning goal. Picture by Frank Reid
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Sam Allardyce has laid the blame for Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom at the feet of referee Martin Atkinson after Saido Berahino’s controversial winner.

The Baggies forward fouled Costel Pantilimon in the build-up to his 54th minute winner but Atkinson didn’t give it, which left Allardyce reeling.

It led to angry scenes, with the Sunderland players fuming the goal had been allowed.

And Allardyce believes his side were harshly done to in his debut match in charge.

Allardyce said: “We will probably get a ticking off for surrounding the referee after the goal went in because of the rules today where you’re not supposed to confront them.

“But I could hardly blame the players for that as the referee has made such a big error.

“If we get a double punishment it would be difficult to take.

“It wasn’t our fault we lost the game, I thought it was his fault on the decision not to give a free-kick when our 6ft 7ins goalie has got the ball in his hands, with his feet off the ground.

“It doesn’t matter how big he is, when the centre forward jumps into him, it knocks him off balance.

“A free-kick should have been given but it wasn’t.

“The other scenario is when the ball comes down it hits his arm and rolls forward, a double foul if you like, that is very disappointing when it looked like we had at least a point.”

Allardyce said he didn’t see the James McClean incident at the end of the match when the winger goaded the travelling fans, which led to angry scenes among the players.

Allardyce said: “I was in the dressing room eager to look at the goal we conceded to make sure when I was speaking afterwards that I was right in what I said.

“It should have been a foul.

“I suppose he [McClean] felt they had been giving him some stick and because they had beaten us thought he would give a bit back but until I see it, I don’t know.

“It is not my responsibility to say what happened.

“The rules and regulations will look after all that.”

Match report on Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat at West Brom.