Chris Wilder left fuming as Sheffield United denied penalty after "reckless" challenge against Fulham'

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, was left fuming after a “reckless” challenge by Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola went unpunished during tonight’s defeat at Craven Cottage.

Saturday, 20th February 2021, 10:57 pm

United went down to their 20th defeat of a miserable season so far, after Ademola Lookman scored the game’s only goal in the second half to give Fulham a vital three points in their survival bid.

But United, who remain bottom of the table, thought they may be handed a chance to get back into it when French goalkeeper Areola wiped out substitute Jayden Bogle late in the game.

Sky Sports reported the referee’s official line as describing the incident as a “50/50 challenge” while pundit Graeme Souness described it as “an assault”.

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VAR checked the incident but didn’t recommend the decision was overturned, which Wilder described as “ridiculous”.

“We talk about injuries to players and I’m happy that my young wing-back hasn’t suffered serious damage.

“I thought it was a reckless challenge and a penalty, and I don’t know how that decision was come to. Are we clutching? Yeah because that’s where we are as a club, the fine margins.

Jayden Bogle of Sheffield United is wiped out by Alphonse Areola of Fulham: David Klein/Sportimage

“I think Jayden is the luckiest boy in and around this area, because it’s a reckless challenge and it’s a penalty all day long. All day long. There’s no question about it. I’m seeing a different game from anyone saying it’s not a penalty.

“It is reckless, have you seen how high the boy is? That’s not a block tackle, it’s reckless and it’s a penalty. And whatever comes off the back of that.

“I’m not saying we were outstanding or dominated the game but once again fine margins have gone against us. It’s a catalogue of decisions over the last few years and it’s another one tonight.”

United, who had a good chance to level when Oli McBurnie and Billy Sharp combined to tee up Enda Stevens, whose tame shot was saved by Areola, suffered yet another injury blow when influential defender Chris Basham limped off.

“Basham has done his hamstring,” Wilder said.

“That’s but two or three players in our squad who haven’t had injuries this year, which is a huge amount for us to deal with.”