‘The referee admitted it was a penalty’ – Lambert on goalless draw at Oxford
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert felt his side were denied a ‘stonewall’ penalty in tonight’s goalless draw at League One promotion rivals Oxford United.
Blues striker James Norwood got the wrong side of John Mousinho in the box before having his shoulder tugged at by the home captain just before half-time. Referee Tom Nield waved away strong protests.
"We dominated the game first half, really, really good, we had so much of the ball and a stonewall penalty that the referee admitted was a penalty," said the Blues boss, whose side remain third in the table.
"He says there was a foul here (in the build up) but two wrongs don't make a right. You can't say that's a free-kick, so you can't then give ours. That doesn't make sense. Some of the decisions, I thought, were strange, but I liked the referee's demeanour and the way he came across. I just thought he got that big one wrong.
"I thought we played really well. First half they never threatened us at all and we had some chances, while second half we had moments. I'm happy with the team. We're in a good bit of form.
"It's a really good point. I think we're in a good place, the team is playing well, guys are hitting form at the right time. We just need to carry that through."
A game of few chances will be best remembered for a 15 minute first half stoppage due to heavy rain leaving plenty of standing water on the surface.
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"I could see myself that it was dangerous," said Lambert. "The ball was sticking and not rolling. I just said to the referee 'you call it how you see it'. We were kind of in the lap of the Gods with the weather and if that rain had kept coming I think the game would have been stopped. Thankfully it eased off and the groundsmen did a good job.
"Karl (Robinson, Oxford manager) and I both said to him 'give it another five or 10 minutes, if you think it's playable then we'll play, if you don't then stop it'. I don't get involved in that nonsense because the referee has got a hard enough job as it is making a decision."
On another impressive display by Emyr Huws, who appears to be getting stronger in 2020, Lambert said: "It's been a big couple of weeks for him. Three (league) games in a row. You're right, I think he's playing really, really well at this moment in time."
On the absence of striker Kayden Jackson from the squad, the Blues bos explained: "It's just his hamstring. He had a scan the other day and thankfully it's not too bad. There's fatigue in the hamstring but thankfully no pull. Hopefully he'll be alright for the weekend (at Tranmere)."