PHIL Bardsley rued a tale of two penalty appeals after Sunderland trudged away from Stamford Bridge empty-handed.
In a frantic 60-second spell in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Chelsea, Sunderland were reprieved and then aggrieved at the other end of the pitch by referee Phil Dowd.
Early in the second half, Chelsea striker Fernando Torres was booked for a dive after minimal contact with Sunderland defender Bardsley as the Spaniard raced down the left-hand side of the area.
But within seconds, Sunderland were left irate as they chased an equaliser after Dowd failed to spot Ashley Cole’s push on Nicklas Bendtner.
Bardsley (pictured) said: “When Torres was coming at me, I stuck out my leg and he flashed past me, clipped me and he has gone down far too easily.
“Then we went down the other end and it was a stone-waller for me.
“Ashley Cole went through the back of Bendtner. Anywhere else on the pitch it would have been a free-kick, so it was a penalty for me.
“The ref said he didn’t see it. It was frustrating.”
But Sunderland could not blame the official for suffering only a second defeat under Martin O’Neill after wasting a glut of opportunities.
“We had six or seven chances there and we deserved to get something out of the game,” said Bardsley.
“Some of those were clear-cut ones and it’s disappointing not to come away with something.
“The gaffer said to us after the game that we should feel hard done by.
“He said that the Chelsea bench had been celebrating at the final whistle as if they had won the league. I just felt we should have got something.”
Sunderland now face three successive home games against Swansea, Middlesbrough and Norwich, with O’Neill also concentrating on any possible transfer window acquisitions
Black Cats owner and chairman Ellis Short was at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and was due for talks with O’Neill over January targets.
But Bardsley says that if Sunderland are to bolster their squad this month, then at least those already at O’Neill’s disposal have made a positive impression.
“If the manager thinks we need to strengthen then I’m sure he will,” added the 26-year-old.
“I’m sure that with the performances we have shown of late then he will have taken a long hard look at us all and I’m sure he’ll be happy.
“I’m not sure who he might want to go for, but if he wants to bring someone in, it will be to improve the team.”