Millwall boss criticises two key calls in verdict on Sunderland draw - and sends Dennis Cirkin message
Millwall boss Gary Rowett claimed his side had been unlucky to come out on the wrong end of two 'very contentious' calls in the 1-1 draw with Sunderland.
Rowett said his side should have had a penalty when Tom Bradshaw was challenged early in the game, and also questioned the decision to disallow George Honeyman's goal.
Honeyman's effort had been initially awarded after he followed up an effort from Zian Flemming that Anthony Patterson had fumbled. After consultation between the referee and the linesman, it was decided that George Saville had impeded Patterson's view of that initial shot, and had done so from an offside position.
Rowett said he felt both sides played their part in a 'competitive' Championship game.
“If you’re a neutral bystander it was a competitive, end to end game where both teams more than played their part,” Rowett said.
“If you view the game on possession and some really nice little touches and skill then Sunderland more than played their part in it. They had a 10-minute spell first half and probably a 10-minute spell second half where they make it difficult for you to get out to the ball. But I didn’t think they threatened our goal that much.
“Longy has not had a save to make. They had one shot on target, the goal.
“We’ve had something like 15 shots and lots and lots of moments which were very contentious. I’ve watched them back, so I’m not just sat here bleating as a manager who hasn’t won the game.
“We should’ve had a penalty first half when Tom Bradshaw gets the other side of the full-back and the full-back pulls him and then pushes him in the back.
“The referees need to be sure. He said: ‘I didn’t feel there was quite enough contact to be a penalty’. So he wasn’t sure.
"But the second one he is absolutely sure. You can’t guess. If you watch it back then Saville is in and around that area but he is quite a way away from the keeper.
"When Zian strikes the ball it doesn’t affect the goalkeeper at all, he dives straight away. He knows where it is going, he fumbles the chance and then he doesn’t appeal it at all. Usually that is a good guideline.
“If I’m the keeper I’m getting up there and I’m saying he is in my way. They think it is goal. They don’t appeal. The officials chalked it off.
“After that the keeper has made two or three good saves and we’ve hit the bar. We’re a little bit unfortunate not to win the game.”
Rowett is facing a long spell without Mason Bennett, who suffered what looks to be a serious ankle injury as he attempted to challenge Patrick Roberts just before half-time.
In his update on the forward Rowett praised Dennis Cirkin for his bravery in suffering a concussion as he headed in the equaliser.
“Hopefully [Dennis] Cirkin is alright too, because he got clobbered off [George] Longy for the goal, which was brave," he said. Hopefully he’s not too serious as well.”