Stoke boss annoyed by 'soft' decision to award Luton's late penalty

Potters chief not impressed by late spot-kick

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 2nd March 2020, 1:30 pm
Callum McManaman goes over the challenge of James Chester to earn Town a late penalty on Saturday
Callum McManaman goes over the challenge of James Chester to earn Town a late penalty on Saturday

Stoke manager Michael O'Neill brandished the decision to award a late penalty in his side's 1-1 draw against fellow relegation rivals Luton on Saturday as ‘soft’.

With 89 minutes gone and the Potters leading through Sam Vokes’ ninth minute strike, Hatters substitute Callum McManaman went down in the area under the challenge of visiting defender James Chester.

Referee Andy Woolmer pointed to the spot, allowing James Collins to convert from 12 yards to ensure Town salvaged a draw, as O’Neill said: “It’s very disappointing to be in front and get to the 90th plus minute and the penalty's soft to say the least, lets be honest.

“But there's nothing we can do about, it's two points dropped, because of the position we're in.

“Equally, I suppose in the end, it's important we weren't beaten as well, but it doesn't feel like that at this minute in time.

“I don't think there was very much in it to give it at that moment in the game.

"There's contact between James Chester and I’m not sure who their player is with their upper body, he gets a toe to the ball, but there's a lot of bodies there.

“It's an interesting one to give that late in the game to make that decision.”

Stoke had led for well over an hour courtesy of Vokes' strike, but O'Neill felt that playing on Wednesday night, with Town in action 24 hours earlier, had played a part in their inability to see the game out.

He added: "I thought in the first half we were really, really good, really strong.

“We had other chances, probably should have been more than one ahead, and we had control of the game.

“Second half, we didn't play as well, but part of that is I have to give the opposition credit.

“They had nothing to lose at that point, came forward and offered more of a threat.

“Second half we looked a little bit tired, we were a bit wasteful in possession at times which meant we couldn't get up the pitch as well as we'd have liked.

“It’s your third game in a week, second away game, which makes life a little bit difficult and there was a day difference between playing Wednesday and Tuesday, I expected Luton to abe a little bit fresher in the second half which they were, but it’s disappointing.

“We feel aggrieved a little bit but we just have to move on, it's disappointing to drop the two points.”