Birmingham head coach Lee Bowyer launched a scathing attack on referee Jeremy Simpson – accusing him of ‘guessing’ – after his side conceded from a controversial late penalty to draw 1-1 against Nottingham Forest at St Andrew’s.
Lewis Grabban netted from the spot in the eighth minute of time added on after Lukas Jutkiewicz was judged to have barged Scott McKenna.
Blues looked like making it three straight wins from Marc Roberts’ 49th-minute header until the late drama.
“In the 96th minute he wants to give a penalty that isn’t a penalty, you can’t just guess in the 96th minute – you can’t,” fumed Bowyer.
“That’s what’s happened, he guessed. It was a case of ‘That must be a foul because they have come together’.
“No, it’s not. All night long, there were soft decisions. It’s wrong.
“It’s wrong – it’s never a penalty. I have looked at it back and he (McKenna) is there, they are coming together, but that happens when you have got one player running one way, another player running another.
“He (Jutkiewicz) can’t get out of the way of the player, the fellow heads it and because he is running his momentum takes him into Jutkiewicz.”
Bowyer’s anger also spilled into his opinion on officiating in the Sky Bet Championship generally.
“Too many times in this division officials get it wrong and nothing happens,” he added. “They guess and they get away with it.
“I will ring up Alan Wiley (referees’ chief) again and ask him about this decision and I guarantee you 100 per cent he will send me a letter in about three days’ time apologising for that decision because it’s wrong.
“In the 96th minute you are making a decision like that, you are messing about with peoples’ lives.”
Forest manager Chris Hughton disagreed with Bowyer on the penalty decision.
He said: “I haven’t seen it back but my assistants have seen it again and they are adamant that it was.
“Scott has a really nasty cut from that incident.”
Hughton, back at the club he led into Europe for the first time in 50 years, praised Forest’s character for rescuing a point when all looked lost.
“Credit to our team to keep going because if you do, that’s what can happen,” he added.
“We started well and for the first 20 minutes we were the better team, but for 70 minutes we were second best, even though arguably we had the two best chances with Ryan Yates heading against the bar and Lyle Taylor going clean through.
“But the feeling was they were going to increase their lead than us getting back into it.”
Forest are a point clear of Blues and 11 clear of third from bottom Rotherham, who have five matches left.
“It makes that gap that bit bigger but we want to continue that fight to the end,” added Hughton.
“The one thing we will not accept is the season petering out.”
Blues dominated as Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba denied headers from Jutkiewicz and Roberts and blocked substitute Riley McGree’s shot.
On the break for Forest, Yates headed against the bar and James Garner’s 25-yard drive bounced just wide, while Taylor was foiled in a one-on-one.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe