West Brom went back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table in controversial fashion last night as a late Charlie Austin penalty earned them a 1-0 victory over promotion rivals Preston North end.
Austin stepped up to convert in the 90th minute after Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd was adjusted to have fouled West Brom sub Kyle Edwards. It was a decision that got plenty of people talking, and after the game Preston manager Alex Neil described it as “a really contentious decision.”
As quoted by BBC Sport, he said: “When it’s a last-minute goal you concede, it certainly makes it worse that it’s a really contentious decision as well. If it was a little bit of quality from them, it would be more palatable.
“It certainly wasn’t a vintage performance from us but we set up in a manner that I felt gave us the best chance of getting a win or getting something from the game, because we had so many players missing.”
“I thought we were really comfortable in the second half, I don’t think they had a shot on target but then the penalty decision swings the game. It doesn’t look like a penalty to me. For how hard they worked, and how little space and time they gave some really good players in Albion’s team, I thought we deserved something from the match.”
West Brom manager Slaven Bilic did not discuss the penalty, but said what a huge result it was for his side.
“In the first half we were very dominant, we just lacked quality in the final third and I told the guys just raise the tempo and be patient,” he said.
“In the second half Preston improved and had their moments but the game changed in the final 20 minutes and we camped in their half of the pitch, and if any team deserved to win it was us. You can’t imagine how big a result this is for us because Preston is a very difficult place to come and play.”