David Wagner was not a happy man after Huddersfield’s 0-0 draw at Cardiff City on Saturday.
The Terriers dominated the game and thought they had been given the opportunity to score from the penalty spot late in the second half after Joe Bennett brought down Florent Hadergjonaj in the box and referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty kick.
However, Mason consulted his linesman and overturned the decision to award Huddersfield a penalty.
That decision could be pivotal in their season as the Terriers remain bottom of the Premier League table, without a win in nine games and eight points from safety.
“There are four people in black and you have to ask them what was going on. I spoke to the linesman during the match and he said ‘the first incident was not a foul and the second I don’t know’ but I don’t know what he means,” Wagner fumed. “It was clearly a penalty, the video footage speaks for itself and we have not got it. It makes no sense to waste my energy for something like this, but it was a big mistake. I really can’t find the words how this can happen. The fourth official had no idea either, he was as surprised as everyone else was. Decisions like this make tables and seasons. We have had so many decisions against us and I don’t know why. The boys left everything on the grass, and only one team deserved something out of the game. One point is not enough, we needed to win.”
Cardiff’s manager Neil Warnock had a slightly different view on the penalty decision…
“I think it is good there was an experienced linesman. There was not enough contact for a penalty and the linesman made him change his mind. If that had won them the game I would’ve been disappointed,” Warnock told BBC’s Match of the Day.
There is no doubt there was contact on Hadergjonaj and although Warnock stated that the Huddersfield player was lucky to not give away a penalty in the first half for catching Junior Hoilett, he knows that Cardiff got away with one here.
You can count on one hand the times when a referee has given a penalty kick then trusted his linesman to overturn the decision, and in this case there really wasn’t that much evidence to suggest it wasn’t a penalty kick. The contact was clear, although no forceful, and Mason was pretty clear with his original decision.
When you are down the bottom like Huddersfield are, these are the kind of things which go against you and the Terriers can feel hard done by as they dominated the game and if either team deserved to win it was them.