Crystal Palace vs Sunderland: Neil Warnock furious as Phil Dowd fails to award first minute penalty

Sunderland lucky not to concede a penalty in the opening minute

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The Independent Online

Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock was an unhappy man as he saw his side denied a penalty in the opening minute of the 3-1 defeat at home to Sunderland on Monday night.

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher scored a brace and Jordi Gomez got another as the Black Cats won on a Monday night for the first time in 12 years; Wes Brown's comical own goal had seen Palace level but two late goals gave Gus Poyet's men the three points.

"I think everybody knows it's a penalty, the ref said he didn't see it, he's in a great position. We need a bit of luck, the only chance we have got of getting a penalty is someone picking the ball up and throwing it at the referee," said Warnock.

"It's so disappointing when you play so well, how we've lost that game I'll never know.

"It bewilders me, bookings, but don't let's talk about it. We couldn't give any more, we were brilliant. I said to them we need to make luck as we're not going to get much luck. We're at Old Trafford on Saturday and we won't get many decisions there.

"I'm really proud of the lads and on another night - decisions change games, major decisions, and the last couple of weeks we've had major decisions go against us. It does feel cruel, it's a cruel night. I said to the fourth official, 'How does it feel when you see you've made a mistake?' and he said, 'It hurts', so there'll be one or two people hurting tonight but no more than me or my team."

Referencing a trend he feels has gone against his side, he added: "They get you the points (key decisions). The 'assault' on Julian (Speroni) at West Brom, I'll never forget that, we were 2-0 up. Wilfried (Zaha's) penalty there and tonight, he's taken his legs, the defender.

"You can see it clearly and the referee is in a great position, they should be simple, we're talking about the Premier League here, the best in the world. It's no good speaking to Mike Riley, is it? We were told we should appeal more, I can't see appealing more make a difference, can you?

"And to top it all we kick the ball out when their lad needed treatment, which was a nothing challenge, and they kick it out for a throw-in. Really respectful isn't it? I think we're too nice, too honest."

Two-goal Steven Fletcher felt Sunderland earned the little bit of luck they got en route to winning 3-1 at Crystal Palace.

After a hapless 8-0 loss at Southampton, it was also a welcome return to form on the road, but it could have worked out differently had Palace been given a penalty inside the first 30 seconds when Santiago Vergini felled Fraizer Campbell in the box,

"The gaffer tells us not to tackle in the box and we got away with one," Fletcher told Sky Sports 1. "We deserve a bit of luck.

"It was a massive game, three points and the performance of the back four was fantastic. We know we have a good team and we don't listen to outside things."

Palace had got level when Wes Brown put through his own goal - Sunderland's third own goal in as many games.

"I felt for Wes as he was running back to cover, but we we reacted well," captain John O'Shea said.

"We knew if we created chances we would score. Fletcher was fantastic, took his goals superbly, but the lads as a unit were a bit more sound."

The win took Sunderland out of the bottom three and boss Gus Poyet said: "It means a lot - more than anyone can think.

"The idea was to come back, somehow (from the recent defeats). It's not always about playing nice - it's doing the basics. The best part was the goals - you don't score too many away from goals the way we did today."

Referencing the penalty appeal, Poyet said: "I didn't know if it was but, after seeing Mr Warnock talking to people and the information coming from the top, it was.

"It's time we maybe got a bit of luck. It was a difficult time for the referee."

On his side's own goal problem, Poyet added: "The players have a desire to clear, and then sometimes you are taking the biggest risk. Wes rushed in - I don't think we can train for this.

"I am sure the atmosphere on Wednesday (when the players train again) will be great."

Additional reporting from PA

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