Royle: Kyle should have seen red

DESPITE his team putting on a superbly committed performance, Blues boss Joe Royle was fuming after going down to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

DESPITE his team putting on a superbly committed performance, Blues boss Joe Royle was fuming after going down to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, writes Derek Davis.

He raged at the referee for failing to send off match-winner Kevin Kyle.

He ranted about his defence's inability to defend crosses.

And he was livid at losing a game he feels they should have won.

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There was plenty for Royle to be proud of even though Town's run of three straight league wins ended at the Stadium of Light.

It was an excellent performance, full of commitment throughout the team and with two well-worked goals, although Gary Breen finally deflected Town's opener after a Darren Bent shot. Richard Naylor nodded in his third goal of the season to make him the club's top-scorer, excluding Shefki Kuqi who scored five at Sheffield Wednesday before joining Town.

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But Royle fumed: "I would have been disappointed with a draw, never mind losing.

"To give a goal away as we did just before half-time was criminal. And our inability to defend at crosses has cost us dearly."

Royle was unhappy that Kevin Kyle was only booked once after committing a series of offences. He had clearly used his elbow to flatten Richard Naylor then kicked the ball away when the foul was given.

He said: "I don't want to see players sent off but the lad who scored the winner should not have been on the field and Mick McCarthy has almost admitted that. He could have been sent off twice in the first half.

"He should have gone for a succession of fouls, elbows and landing on people. At some stage we will get a player sent off for less than that and that is where the rules are wrong. The referee will say he refereed in the spirit of the game."

Sunderland boss Mccarthy did not agree at all and said: "I thought Kyle was brilliant. He scored a great header and gave the centre-halves hell. He will do for me.

"I just said that to Joe to get rid of him but he played the game as I did and Kyle did and knows what's what.

"There were too many good things in that game to get worried about that. Ipswich were excellent first half and stopped us playing. But we deserved the win on our second half which we had to work for and won it with honest endeavour."

But it was not just aggressive centre forwards that upset Joe, it was his own centre-halves.

He said: "We don't defend properly. Our goalkeeper has had an outstanding season yet we have not had a clean sheet so far. We are a little weak in areas defensively. We are close to being a very decent side but I'm disappointed."

And Royle discounted any chance of Bent getting the goal added to his tally.

He said: "He will try and claim it but it was going across the goal."

Marcus Stewart was given a standing ovation as he was substituted a couple of minutes before the end after a quiet night for him.

After a day of rumours which swept the north-east yesterday that Sir Bobby Robson had resigned from Newcastle, the great man was among the crowd at the Stadium of Light last night.

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