Blackburn Rovers played out a 2-2 with Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon, but manager Tony Mowbray feels Forest were awarded a “soft penalty”, and that his Rovers side did enough to come away with all three points.
All four goals came in the second half of an entertaining clash at Ewood Park, as Rovers were denied all three points late on through a Lewis Grabban penalty with 80 minutes gone.
It was Grabban that put Forest ahead seven minutes into the second half, as he finished off an impressive, free-flowing counter attack by nodding home from Joao Carvalho’s header back across the box.
However, their lead didn’t last long, as Blackburn pulled one back through Adam Armstrong, who had only been on the pitch eight minutes before curling in a terrific left-footed strike in off the post and beyond Forest’s Romanian shot stopper Costel Pantilimon.
In form Bradley Dack put Tony Mowbray’s side ahead with 73 minutes gone. Danny Graham played the ball to Dack for his easiest goal of the season, tapping in from close range for his fifth Championship goal of the campaign.
However, the game was turned on its head once again, when referee Andrew Madley awarded a harsh-looking penalty for substitute Jack Rodwell challenge on winger Joe Lolley – who was a constant cause of pain for Rovers’ defence. Grabban stepped up and slotted home his second of the game and his fourth League goal of the season.
In his comments on the game, Tony Mowbray said that he thought the penalty awarded against Rodwell was harsh, and that his side could’ve come away with all three points. He told the Lancashire Telegraph:
“A huge frustration really, we all feel really hard done by with the penalty decision. Let’s be honest, the referee had a really difficult game right from the start. He bamboozled both benches, both sets of fans with some of his decisions. We have to live by it.
“It was a really, really soft penalty and if that’s a penalty then why isn’t Dack’s a penalty when he’s manhandled to the ground?
“These are the days when I believe referees should be accountable and come out and answer questions and tell us honestly what they saw.
“I’m assuming he thought one was a penalty and one wasn’t.
“I’ve watched it back and the one he gives there are five players within direct line of him and the ball so how we saw it and gave it I will never know.
“Frustration, disappointed, I thought we did enough.
“Their first goal was a great goal, breaking away against our press, one-touch getting wide and it was a great goal.
“They are a good team but I thought we more than matched them.
“How we weren’t infront at half time is a mystery to us all really, the chances we had and the effort we put in was there to see.
“The team is disappointed and frustrated yet we have to see positives as with the negotiations we had with Forest over Brereton their only ambition is to get promotion this year and hopefully finish in the top two.
“To compete how we did today and be disappointed not to win tells us we’re on the right road.”
The penalty came at a time when Rovers were well on top in the game and looking to push on for what would have been a fourth win of the season.
“We were going for the jugular. It was a frustration,” Mowbray said when he was discussing the equaliser.
“I won’t watch it anymore, I’ve watched it four or five times and I can’t see a contact and the boy goes over. It’s a very delayed reaction, the referee has five bodies right in his eyeline and he points to the spot.
“We have to accept it, the score is 2-2 and we have to move on to the next game, Sheffield United on Wednesday and know we can match all of these teams.
“If we play at the levels we can we can give everyone a good game.”