MILLWALL boss Neil Harris felt his side were denied a clear penalty against Cardiff – a claim Neil Warnock dismissed.
Harris thought Lee Gregory was fouled by Sean Morrison 20 seconds into the second half of Saturday’s 0-0 draw as the striker attempted to reach Steve Morison’s pass. Harris said Morrison admitted to Gregory he had impeded him.
Both sides created a number of chances to win the game. Jordan Archer produced three stunning first-half saves, and Gregory and Morison missed the best opportunities for their side.
Harris, though, thought felt referee Steve Martin’s failure to give Millwall a spot-kick was the key moment in the game.
“Definite penalty at the start of the second half,” Harris said. “When you’ve got 20,000 people in the stadium and the only person who doesn’t think it’s a penalty is the referee, someone’s got to be wrong: either 20,000 people or one fellow.
“Unfortunately for us he got it completely wrong today. The centre-half, Sean Morrison, is honest enough to say, ‘I pulled you back and clipped your heels.’ It’s a foul and it changes the game, maybe gives us three points. We would have got a penalty and they’re down to 10 men. So it was really disappointing.”
Referee Martin was booed off by the home fans at the end, after the home side claimed a penalty in injury-time when Morrison believed he had been fouled by Jake Cooper.
“I couldn’t quite see how much contact there was,” Harris said. “After that first incident right at the start of the second half I thought the referee was playing a little bit of catch-up.
“Steve is a good guy and good referee but this wasn’t one of his better games. He’s an honest guy and if he got it wrong he will admit he got it wrong.
“Things happen quickly and the referee has to make split-second decisions but that’s what he has his staff around him for, to help him. But clearly today the four of them weren’t up to it.
“Neil is an experienced manager and says what he thinks, I’m not as experienced and quite mild-mannered on the side-line so when I’m agitated over things there’s normally a good reason for it.”
Warnock agreed with Harris’ assessment of Martin’s performance, but for different reasons.
“I thought he was consistent – consistently poor,” Warnock said. “I’ve never heard so much vitriol [from the crowd].
“I disagree with Neil, he said Morrison said this, that and the other – Morrison said the kid dived. We felt Morrison was then pulled back in their box.
“Neil is doing a great job, they’re a hard-working team.”
Warnock was also unhappy with a tackle by Shaun Hutchinson on Junior Hoilett when the Lions defender won the ball but sent the Cardiff attacker hurtling towards the advertising hoardings.
“I thought the tackle on Junior Hoilett was horrendous. They say he got the ball but I've been told that if it's a follow-through and overly endangering a player it should be a booking. That's what I was told this season, and you can't tell me that didn't endanger him, the way he went through him.
"We'll have to be ready when we play down at their place, won't we, because we'll have to match their physicality to start with.
“We weren’t good enough to break them down. We needed a goal and had some great opportunities but you’ve got to take them.
“While it’s 0-0 there’s no reason for them to come out and play. Their keeper took 35 to 40 seconds on goal-kicks and the ref did nothing.
“It was the kind of game I expected all week. I don’t know why TV selected it – but that’s their problem.”
Image: Millwall FC