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Dean Smith criticises ‘scandalous’ penalty decision as Norwich draw with Wigan

Norwich manager Dean Smith was unhappy with a refereeing decision (Joe Giddens/PA)
Norwich manager Dean Smith was unhappy with a refereeing decision (Joe Giddens/PA)

Norwich manager Dean Smith felt referee Matthew Donohue missed a clear penalty and red card towards the end of his side’s frustrating 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw with Wigan at Carrow Road.

Max Aarons was taken out by a strong challenge from Tom Naylor as he went looking for his second goal of the game, having got the hosts back on level terms on the hour mark.

Naylor got the ball but Smith felt the challenge was overzealous and should been punished by the official.

“The referee was looking straight down the barrel of that one and the fact that he doesn’t see it worries me, ” said the City boss.

“To me it was a scandalous decision – the fact that Max has got a nasty gash on his shin tells you everything you need to know. It was a horrendous challenge.

“I’ll tell you something, you wouldn’t even have got away with something like that in my playing days when referees were a lot more lenient. You couldn’t go over the top like that. It should have been a red card and a penalty.”

Smith felt his side more than deserved to win the game, adding: “I think it’s one point gained for them and two points lost for us.

“We pegged them back for long periods and had the better chances. We had 22 attempts and gifted them their two chances by our mistakes. If we had played like that against Cardiff last week (when they lost 1-0) I think we would have won by three or four.

“For the first 30 minutes we were relentless and after dropping a bit at the end of the half we were back on it in the second. I can’t fault the application and attitude of the lads – they are gutted in the dressing room not to have taken all three points.”

Playing at home for the first time since last season’s dismal Premier League campaign, Norwich dominated for long periods but were unable to make their superiority county against plucky opponents.

They had created and wasted a number of opportunities before falling behind against the run of play.

Callum Lang was foiled by the onrushing Tim Krul when the Latics finally registered an effort on goal but they were celebrating on 29th minutes after James McClean converted Will Keane’s pass following a Ben Gibson mistake.

The Canaries pretty much dominated the rest of the game, but only had one goal to show for it as a well-worked move from the left saw the hosts switch the ball across the edge of the area before Milot Rashica slid in the overlapping Aarons for a smart finish.

Norwich piled on the pressure after that, with Teemu Pukki striking the underside of the crossbar, but could find no way past a disciplined visiting side.

Latics boss Leam Richardson was delighted to come away from Carrow Road with some reward for a hard-working display.

“The lads deserve all the credit after a really strong performance,” he said. “Everyone who came on the pitch today put in a really good shift and I would argue that it was a fair result in the end.

“For the first 15 minutes or so it was tough but once we got used to their shape and our distances I thought we grew into the game and I am disappointed we didn’t go in front before we got our goal.

“After that we had to work really hard as you expect coming to a place like this. They are top side, top four no doubt about it, and have some really good players but we stuck to our task.

“We have come a long way since being in administration and only having three players and we know it will be a big challenge this season. But it’s a challenge we are all up for.”