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Boss frustrated by ref justice

17 April 2013

Much to the annoyance of the Bantams boss, Phil Parkinson found his post-match assessment of City's controversial Yorkshire derby defeat to Rotherham United dominated by a major refereeing decision.

In a close and keenly-fought contest, City's match with Steve Evans' Millers swung decisively in the favour of the visitors when they were awarded a debatable penalty ten minutes from the end.

Michael Nelson was penalised for a handball as he challenged in the air with Rotherham's Alex Revell inside City's penalty area, even though the contact with the defender's arm looked accidental and he seemed to have been nudged just beforehand.

Although Rotherham's Kieran Agard would go on to seal victory for his side with a breakaway goal in the fifth minute of injury time, it was clear to the vast majority within the Coral Windows Stadium that the questionable penalty award was the key moment in the match.

With the spot-kick decision also coming only days after City were denied a penalty themselves at Chesterfield following a seemingly clear handball infringement, Parkinson was struggling to hide his frustration after Tuesday's final whistle.

Parkinson said: "I loathe to moan about referees and their decisions but the penalty award is beyond belief, especially when you consider the handball penalty shout we didn't get at Chesterfield on Saturday.

"I thought it wasn't a penalty at the time - I thought it was a foul by Revell on Nelse (Michael Nelson - but after watching the incident back on the DVD, how that is a penalty I will never know.

"If the referee hasn't seen it, surely the linesman should have seen Revell bump into Nelson and cause him to get off balance and have his arms out?

"It was always going to be tight game. They came here 4-5-1 and they were strong against us.

"From early on it seemed obvious that it would probably only be a small margin that would seperate the two teams.

"Unfortunately for us, it is a refereeing decision which has proved to be the decisive moment."

Along with the controversy over the penalty to Rotherham, City saw two goals chalked off in the first half. City's first disallowed goal came after four minutes when James Hanson was penalised for pushing Claude Davis before heading home a Gary Jones corner.

City's second cancelled goal later into the first half looked a lot tighter decision, however, with Garry Thompson not getting the rub of the green following a marginal offside call against him as he fired in another Jones cross.

Parkinson added: "It's been a tough night for us, but I felt we created the better chances, especially in the first half.

"I've seen Tommo's goal again and it looks possibly onside to me. 

"In the second half we probably could have played better in possession of the ball but Rotherham came here tonight and made it really difficult for us and it became a scrappy affair.

"At times we were probably a bit too frantic on the ball and didn't work their 'keeper enough - we accept that - but we can't fault the lads' effort and desire to win the game."

With the encounter against Rotherham down as a game in hand for City over their main Play-Off rivals Exeter City, Tuesday's defeat does still leave Parkinson's side in the final Play-Off berth and with their fate still in their own hands with only two games of the regular season to go.

Parkinson believes it is key that City remember this fact as they look to dust themselves down and prepare for another key home game against Burton Albion this Saturday.

The Bantams boss added: "We have to move on from this.

"We've disappointed about tonight (Tuesday) but we don't want a hard-luck story come the end of the season.

"We are still in a good position in the league. Tonight was our game in hand so we are still ahead of Exeter, and we have to now capitialise on that with our home game this Saturday against Burton."

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