|Oxford United 0 v 0 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 14th January 2020 Kick-off 19:45
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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