Referee Michael Oliver had navigated the first half hour of Stoke City’s 2-1 win over Swansea with conviction and confidence, awarding a penalty to the Swans for a foul that few had seen but few could argue with.
With the home side 1-0 up, there was a shout for a second a few minutes later that he waved off, also correctly.
However, it came crashing down for both Swansea and Oliver as he awarded a penalty for quite a soft foul (if a foul at all) by Angel Rangel just before halftime. Victor Moses went to ground incredibly easily, and Rangel was baffled.
So was Swansea City manager Garry Monk.
“The worrying thing for me is I’ve stood in front of a few guys it seems week upon week now talking about game changing decisions against us, and it’s always against us. Today was an absolutely disgusting decision from the referee in terms of the penalty against us.
“The lad [Victor] Moses should be done for cheating – for diving, and for conning the ref – and we should have our reward in terms of it should not be a penalty.”
Monk went on to criticize the referee association in England, mentioning head of officiating Mike Riley for “poor leadership,” and saying he’s sent in a number of controversial decisions in to the office but hasn’t heard anything back.
Those are strong words, but watching the replay it’s hard to argue with Monk for this particular incident. Swansea has now failed to win a single match in its last five, picking up just two points during that time and falling out of the top four and into eighth in the Premier League table.