Preston North End manager Alex Neil has outlined his disappointment at falling to a late defeat at West Brom, thanks to a controversial penalty.
The Lilywhites came into the fixture last night looking to end a run of two straight defeats against Derby County and Hull City, in which they lost the latter one 4-0. Alex Neil had to contend with major injury problems over the past two weeks too with key defensive absences meaning he had to field a makeshift back four for the game against the Baggies.
The away side dominated the game in terms of possession but failed to make this count in the final third, with the match looking set to fizzle out towards a 0-0 draw in the latter stages. However, the result swung West Brom’s way in the 88th-minute as Kyle Edwards went down following a challenge from Declan Rudd. Charlie Austin converted from the penalty spot but it left a bitter taste for the Preston contingent who feel hard-done-by as Rudd appeared to make minimal contact with Edwards as he already looked to go to ground.
Speaking to the club’s official site following the defeat, Alex Neil commented on the contentious penalty decision, where he said: “Our biggest frustration and disappointment is that we have lost to a controversial moment.
“If it is done through a bit of quality from the opposition it is easier to take, but the fact it is such a contentious decision makes it frustrating.
“The referee has made his decision on what he has seen, but by all accounts, even listening to the lads in the [Sky Sports] studio, I don’t think many people think it was a penalty.
“To lose it in that way, I feel really sorry for the players, because I thought their work ethic, how diligent we were and our shape was good – we worked really hard and denied them any space and any real opportunities when you thought they should have scored, which is quite a feat against them, I thought we deserved something from the game.
“There is not much more to say about it – the referee has made his decision, rightly or wrongly, and that has been the deciding factor.”
Can you name every Preston league finish in the last 14 seasons?
Alex Neil has every right to feel aggrieved at this result because they looked set to hold on for the draw until a decision went against them that to all intents and purposes, wasn’t the right call from the referee.
It has to be said that things like this tend to even themselves out and the fact that Preston have already scored eight penalties this season would indicate that fortune had favoured them prior to this result.
Neil will know that their performance merited more than a defeat and Preston should take that mindset into their next games as they look to get back to winning ways.