SHEFFIELD Wednesday manager Dave Jones questioned referee Michael Oliver’s refusal to give his side a penalty in the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest.
The Owls were downed by Radoslaw Majewski’s first-half winner, which ended a seven-game unbeaten run in the npower Championship.
But they had at least two legitimate claims for a penalty when Danny Collins and Jamaal Lascelles both appeared to handle the ball in the second half, though Oliver gave neither.
And Jones was left scratching his head at the inconsistency of the law.
“I’m confused because I was talking to the assessor before the game,” he said. “One, I dont know why we have a Premier League referee and secondly the assessor told me that if the ball changes direction then it’s a penalty.
“He gave a handball when it hits a guy’s arm from a yard away, then their lad lifts his arm and the ball moves and he didn’t give it. That’s the little bit of a break that we wanted. But the referee has to spot one of them.”
Jones’ complaints at the referee mask what was a poor display by the Owls as they looked limp for much of the game and only threatened in a late surge.
“I think in the second half we gave it a go, in the first half we gave the ball away too much,” he added. “In the first half our passing wasn’t crisp enough, the final 25 minutes was one-way traffic but we just lacked the quality. We were lucky to come in 1-0 down at half-time to be honest.
“That’s two defeats in 13. If you’d have said that beforehand we’d have taken it, but we’re just disappointed because if we’d have won today we could have moved up four or five places. We felt it was a missed opportunity.”
In contrast, Forest put themselves firmly in the play-off mix with a third straight win, courtesy of Majewski’s fifth goal in three games. The midfielder was on hand to slide home in the 27th minute following a superb run from Simon Cox.
The visitors had further chances to extend their lead, but were left hanging on as Wednesday poured forward.
But boss Billy Davies was impressed with the character of his side.
“In the first 45 minutes our play was outstanding, we should have been more than one goal in front,” he said.
“In the second half we knew we would have to change our game but in the end that was a very good win.
“Their tails were up, they have been on a good run, coming here you know what you get. In the second half we showed a different type of game. This was a man’s test because they are a strong side.
“I’m very proud of the performance, it’s a great three points, delighted with the clean sheet.”
The win keeps Forest’s unbeaten run going since Davies returned to the club last month and moves them into play-off contention, though he is keeping grounded.
“We have got to find consistency in team selection, we have got work to do,” he added.
“In the short term we have got a great spirit, we are working very hard and at the minute and we are pleased, but we’re not fooled. This is a very tough league.”