Phil Parkinson reacts to Sunderland's disappointing defeat at Portsmouth and criticises three key refereeing calls

Phil Parkinson admits his side struggled to match Portsmouth’s intensity in a disappointing second half at Fratton Park, but voiced his frustration with a number of refereeing decisions.

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 6:16 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 12:36 pm
Phil Parkinson says three key decisions went against Sunderland on Saturday

Sunderland lost 2-0 after conceding from a set piece either side of half-time, with Christian Burgess and James Bolton scoring the crucial goals.

Parkinson admitted that his side’s defending had been ‘costly’ but felt that Luke O’Nien was fouled in the build-up to the first goal, the right wing-back then ruled to have fouled Ronan Curtis.

Curtis then delivered the free-kick that saw Burgess score and significantly check the away side’s growing momentum.

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Parkinson also felt that the Black Cats should have had two penalties, firstly when Chris Maguire was challenged in the box by Curtis, and secondly when Charlie Wyke was brought down in the box just before the interval.

Wyke then collided with the goalkeeper and had to be replaced at half-time.

Parkinson admitted that his side ‘couldn’t get out’ in a deeply disappointing half.

“I thought [in the] first half we played some great stuff and were the better side, but there are defining moments in games and the first goal, we didn't think it was a free kick," he said.

“We felt Luke O'Nien was fouled prior to that but [overall] I felt they had a little bit more edge in both boxes than us today.

“The centre-backs are dominant, we know that, and heading the ball out of your box is so important.

“We came up short twice and that's been costly.

“I thought they started the second half with intensity, put the ball in behind us, played in a direct way and it pinned us back,” he added.

“When they get the second it gave them a huge lift, we just couldn't get out and get the ball down and play as we had done in the first half.

“That was then obviously compounded by going to ten men with Joel Lynch's injury.

Sunderland struggled to put any passages of play together after an engaging first half, registering just one shot in a deeply disappointing second period.

Parkinson threw on debutant Antoine Semenyo and Duncan Watmore in an attempt to turn the tide, but the Black Cats were well beaten on a day that saw them drop out of the play-off positions.

Portsmouth have leapfrogged them in the table and though Sunderland have had a punishing schedule of late, Parkinson did not feel fatigue was a major factor.

“That second goal gave them a huge lift with the way the crowd got behind them,” he said.

“It can look that way [leggy] because with a 2-0 lead, any tired legs they have had suddenly go and we didn't quite like we had the energy to get back in it.

“But you look at the first half and we should have had two penalties and it's hugely frustrating we haven't got those.

“We needed the officials to be stronger today and unfortunately those big calls didn't go out way.”