City boss Paul Lambert could not hide his anger last night after some dubious refereeing decisions played their part in a disappointing evening at Stadium:MK.
Apart from Roger East's continuous refusal to give Grant Holt any protection whatsoever � on one occasion, he was clearly elbowed in the back of the head, only for the referee to give a free-kick to MK Dons � there were the two penalty decisions in either box.
The first one came in the 18th minute when Dean Lewington appeared to push Holt in the back when in the box. To be fair, the summer signing didn't really appeal but to all and sundry, it looked like a spot-kick.
This, of course, came at a time when the visitors were well on top after Chris Martin's well-taken effort after just 17 seconds.
And if they had been given the decision, then you'd have fancied the Canaries to take a 2-0 lead which, in turn, would have made it very difficult for the Dons to come back.
But it was the second-half call at the other end that caused real controversy. Replays showed that Chris Martin actually got a nick on the ball during the incident which led to Peter Leven's winner from the spot, after Jason Puncheon's free-kick had put the Dons level.
The Sky Sports panel, which included ex-Canary Dion Dublin, were in agreement that East made the wrong decision after the linesman flagged for a penalty.
And Lambert admitted afterwards that the City squad were insisting they had been hard done by…
“It took a free-kick and a penalty and unless I'm wrong, I'm not sure it was a penalty,” Lambert told Sky afterwards. “The lads tell me it wasn't; I'll have to see it again. But the referee was not very good.”
And was the penalty shout at the other end warranted? “Yes, we should have [got a penalty]. If theirs is a penalty then I think Grant's should have been.”
Despite his grievances with the Wiltshire official, Lambert did admit that lady luck was not on City's side on the injury front, with Stephen Hughes, Michael Nelson and Adam Drury all forced off.
This meant that the second-half saw Luke Daley, Korey Smith and Tom Adeyemi occupy midfield positions, with Chris Martin the granddad of the group at 20-years-old.
And while it's great news for the Academy and Ricky Martin, it's not always going to win you a tough, League One encounter.
But Lambert had nothing but praise for the young lads, and his team in general. They'll play worse and win between now and next May.
And while there is still plenty to work on, you still feel that under the Scot, the Canaries are heading in the right direction.
“You're hoping that grit and determination will see you through [after the injuries],” Lambert continued, speaking with a definite passion in his voice.
“We had that in abundance and I'm really disappointed to have lost the game. Over the 90 minutes, I didn't think we deserved to lose.
“Their effort was absolutely extraordinary and I couldn't ask for any more from the group of lads. They've been terrific since I've been here.
“We've come to a tough place with the youngsters in the team and that bodes well for the future. Effort and desire wise, they've been great.”
Leave a Reply