Chris Powell believes his side were denied a clear penalty and hit out at referee Robert Lewis.
The Southend United boss felt Tom Flanagan should have been penalised for a challenge on Dru Yearwood inside the area and accused the referee of ‘belittling’ his side.
“We were certainly in the game from the beginning, disrupted by a bad injury to our left-back but we got ourselves going again. I felt we took the game to Sunderland, we felt we needed to.
“I think the game-changing moment is the penalty incident. If someone can tell me that’s not a penalty – the ball hasn’t deviated, hasn’t been touched by a Sunderland player. That’s a big,
big moment in the game.”
Powell told the Southend Echo: “All I want is fair judgements and I very rarely complain but I’m just not having what I’ve seen from the referee.
“It’s a stonewall penalty on Dru Yearwood and the ball hasn’t even moved so how can he say the defender won it?
“Harry Bunn got booked when he got the ball, Dru got booked for one tackle but [Lee] Cattermole has about three.
“He cleans Dru out and it’s no booking. I know we all make mistakes but I can’t have that. They’re belittling us. Don’t belittle Southend and my players, that’s scandalous.
“You understand there are 30,000 fans here but you have to be brave. I really don’t want to come out and do this but it has to be said.”
On Sunderland’s bid for promotion, Powell added: “We know the extent of this club and Jack is quietly trying to rebuild confidence in not only the football club but this area as well. Fair play to how he’s done it so far.”