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Lambert: Good Point But We Should Have Had a Penalty
Tuesday, 14th Jan 2020 23:43

Town boss Paul Lambert was pleased with his side’s point from their 0-0 monsoon interrupted draw in their first ever competitive game at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium and revealed referee Tom Nield admitted he should have given the Blues a first-half penalty when James Norwood was fouled.

“Very good, really good,” he said when asked if it was a good point. “I think we’re in a good place, the team’s playing well, the guys are hitting form probably at the right time, and we just need to carry that through.”

Reflecting on the early stages played in a strong wing and heavy rain before the game was stopped for 15 minutes to allow the conditions to improve, he said: “I could see myself it was dangerous. You could see the ball sticking and not rolling.

"I just said, ‘You’re the referee, you call it how you want to see it’ because you’re in the lap of the gods what’s going to happen with the weather.

“If that rain kept on coming as it had been the game would have stopped, but thankfully the groundsman did a good job and the rain eased off a little bit. It just broke it up a little bit.”

Lambert and Oxford boss Karl Robinson were singing from the same song sheet: “We just said to give it another five or 10 minutes and if you think it’s playable then play it, if you don’t think it’s playable then stop it.

“I don’t get involved in all that nonsense because the referee’s got a hard enough job to make a decision. He’s the referee, he had to call it.”

Lambert thought the Blues were denied an obvious penalty when John Mousinho hauled Norwood over but said referee Nield, a late replacement official, said afterwards that it was a foul but that there had been an earlier Town infringement in the build-up.

“Our guys were playing really good, we were dominating the game in the first half," he said.

"We had so much of the ball, we had a stonewall penalty, which the referee admitted was a penalty.

“The foul here, the first one was a foul, but two wrongs don’t make a right. You can’t say that’s a freekick and then when we’ve got a shout for penalty don’t give it, that doesn’t make sense. Some of the decisions were strange.

“But the referee, I liked his demeanour, I liked the way he came across but I thought he got that big one wrong.

“It was a penalty, a stonewaller, he admitted himself, but he thought it was a freekick [to Oxford] initially, but if you don’t give that, you don’t say that two wrongs make a right, it’s impossible.”

He added: “I thought we played really well, first half they never threatened at all, they had one shot really. In the second half, we had moments in there. Really happy with the team, the team’s in a good bit of form.”

A big positive for the Blues was Emyr Huws playing two full 90 minutes in four days and looking to get stronger by the match.

“It’s been a big week for him, it’s been great for him,” he said. “I think he’s playing really, really well at this moment in time.”

Regarding striker Kayden Jackson missing out, he said: “It was 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 there’s no pull so hopefully he might be alright for the weekend.”

Meanwhile, Lambert says he wants an early decision made on Saturday’s game at Tranmere with the pitch there currently waterlogged and with the weather forecast less than promising.

“You can’t do that to Ipswich fans and our team,” he said. “You’d have to make a decision maybe the day before or whatever it is because you can’t let fans start to travel all the way up there, and even ourselves. Especially if the rain is as bad as it has been.”

Oxford manager Robinson had praise for referee Tom Nield's handling of the first half.

“The referee was in an impossible position” he told iFollow Oxford.

“Both managers, all the fans, all the players wanted to play but he said to us ‘Karl, if Ipswich score you will want this game off, Paul, if Oxford score you will want it called off. So while it’s 0-0 let’s take time to take stock for a little bit and let’s see if we can get a better playing surface’.

"I thought that was a very clever idea even if it was frustrating for all of us.

“But first thing, what an amazing turnout on a night like that and well done for sticking with us throughout. We were playing Ipswich Town who everyone thinks should be running away with the league.

"And they knew they were playing a very good team in Oxford United. I know the quality wasn’t there because of the pitch tonight.

"There were obviously people swinging at the ball and making mistakes. That’s part and parcel in those weather conditions.

"But I thought it was a good performance against a very good side and we move one point closer to where we want to be. It could have been three. When you play those sort of teams make sure you don’t lose and make sure you concentrate.

“It was very professional and the players showed a different side to them. Marcus [Browne] and Nathan [Holland] aren’t quite match fit yet but that will come and we have certain areas we want to improve still during this window but I am really happy tonight.

"We should have got more out of it but we dust ourselves down and we will go to Gillingham at the weekend and have a right good go.”

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Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 05:11 - Jan 15
Agreed, Mr Lambert: we were the better team, although Oxford were pretty good too; and yes, it certainly looked like a penalty on iFollow. Carry on playing like this and we’ll be ok.

Dolphinblue added 06:07 - Jan 15
The refs in this league are utter garbage. Was a pen but earlier infringement means it wasnt!?!?!?!? Really!!!!!!!!!!!

Saxonblue74 added 06:22 - Jan 15
Lambo re Referree: "I don't get involved in all that nonsense because the referees got a hard enough job to make a decision". Followed by "some of the decisions were strange"! I actually thought the Ref did well to keep the game going ahead, some would have just bottled it and called it off.

Mr_Jingles added 06:50 - Jan 15
Great away support again...especially for a dark wet windy night in January!

KiwiBlue2 added 07:58 - Jan 15
PL's comments suggest that he might be seeing the benefit of consistent selections. Suspect that Huws might get a rest on Saturday to keep the risk of repetitive injury down but overall it is all sounding positive again, just a pity we did not get the penalty .... roll on Saturday and better weather up north.....

mathiemagic added 08:02 - Jan 15
Good away point in crap conditions. Cant agree about the penalty though, six of one half a dozen as Norwood was tugging away at the defender outside the box and he went down too lightly for me in area so correct decision from what I saw on iFollow. Huwes MOM for me. Edwards needs to calm down at bit, appreciate all the effort but he is going to cost us with a red card sooner rather than later i think.

londontractorboy57 added 08:40 - Jan 15
Saxonblue74 and your point is?

Lathers added 08:46 - Jan 15
3 games with (almost) the same team and the performances have definitely improved. Thought the ref was awful and wanted to be the centre of attention. We still lack creativity from midfield which is the difference between us nicking games like Oxford rather than drawing. Keep the same team please Paul and let’s finally build up a head of steam.

Saxonblue74 added 09:15 - Jan 15
Londontractor, just thought it a little contradictory, that's all!

scants_itfc_88 added 09:23 - Jan 15
Agreed that performances have been better, and given the conditions and amount of goals Oxford score, last night wasn't a bad result, but to say we are on a run of form when our last five games reads LDLWD isn't exactly selling that

BaddowBlue1 added 09:48 - Jan 15
2-3 weeks ago we probably would have conceded a very late goal and come away with nothing. Well played lads on what was a throwback to the old days when I used to watch football in the 70's with my dad. We have had quite a few "clear-cut" penalties turned down and some dubious ones given against us, hopefully things will balance themselves out in the coming weeks. Living in the past here I do remember an Oxford home game in the late 80's early 90's being called off really late and Oxford fans being stuck at the ground as their coach drivers needed the 2 hour break before driving back..

d77sgw added 11:24 - Jan 15
As a qualified ref myself, I just want to reiterate what a sensible job the ref did yesterday. Generally the standard of reffing this season (Wycombe, Blackpool etc) has been noticeably worse than the Championship, but last night the two big decisions he got right 1) the pen - what he’s told Lambert is “it was 6 of one, half a dozen of the other - ie Norwood has been pulling his man first, then Oxford guy pulls him down - that’s been reported as “Ipswich foul first” but it’s pretty clear from the replay what’s happened 2) he saved the blinking game - a lot of refs would have bottled it one way or the other - but he has used real common sense here, and actually improved the game as a spectacle (as well as made it safer for the players). So hats off to him - nice to be able to praise a ref this season for once!

d77sgw added 11:25 - Jan 15
And suddenly my bargain ‘advance’ tickets to Liverpool this weekend don’t seem such a good idea - really, really hope they get that pitch sorted....!

OldClactonBlue added 12:02 - Jan 15
Agree the refs are very poor, but Norwood does foul a lot too.

TimmyH added 12:33 - Jan 15
It wasn't a penalty in my opinion - looked like Norwood fouled the player to get to the ball in the first place, a bit of handbags...that was about the highlight of the game.

runningout added 12:37 - Jan 15
Could have been worse!! To be picky we shouldn’t be relying in ropey penalty decisions. Still short of creativity in midfield, then we’ll have more than a good chance

TimmyH added 12:40 - Jan 15
Oxford pretty good last night? me a favour, I though they played liked schoolboys and handled the conditions less well than ourselves and their form has dipped somewhat over the last few weeks once they have got to a certain position in the league (like many in this league).

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