Penalty call angers Di Matteo after Baggies' defeat

Blackburn 2 West Bromwich Albion 0
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The Independent Football

West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo slammed referee Mark Clattenburg for denying his side a penalty as the Baggies slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Blackburn at Ewood Park.

A Gabriel Tamas own goal put the hosts ahead four minutes before half-time and Junior Hoilett doubled the lead less than two minutes after the break, but it was an incident in the 68th minute that really riled the Baggies boss.

After Rovers debutant Jermaine Jones felled Peter Odemwingie with an ill-advised lunge, Clattenburg was quick to blow his whistle but, to Albion's disbelief, gave only a free-kick on the edge of the area when the offence looked to be at least a yard inside.

Di Matteo felt it was the latest in a string of decisions to go against his team, saying: "I think, apart from the referee, everybody else thought we should have had a penalty.

"It's not the first time. I'm fed up with talking about this after games because it's happening almost on a weekly basis against us. It's incredible.

"It's a foul and it's a penalty and I don't know how he saw it outside the box. It was clearly inside, it wasn't even on the line."

But, while that decision was clearly a moment of misfortune for West Brom, they were also architects of their own downfall, particularly with the goal that put Blackburn ahead.

A well-contested first half had featured chances at both ends but none clear-cut until Tamas powered a header into the top corner under only slight pressure from Roque Santa Cruz.

The Romanian was sent off when the sides met at The Hawthorns three weeks ago and another afternoon to forget was complete just after the break as Hoilett easily beat the defender before lashing in Rovers' second.

Tamas could certainly have done better but the 20-year-old Canadian still had plenty to do before he could celebrate his first Premier League goal.

Jerome Thomas stood out for the Baggies with an impressive display of wing play but Rovers keeper Paul Robinson was on top form, with one fingertip save to keep out Thomas' curling effort particularly memorable.

Di Matteo was philosophical about Tamas' aberration but was less forgiving of his side for their second-half display and admitted they came away with the result they deserved.

"We were good in the first half but I don't think we showed enough in the second half to be able to get a point or three," he said. "We started really brightly and we had some great chances but unfortunately we went 1-0 down with a bizarre own goal.

"There's not much you can do about that. The defender mistimed his jump and it ended up in our net. But we still had a good chance to come back, but the way we started the second half was not good enough.

"We talked about it at half-time, to lock up certain areas of the pitch, but we didn't do it. And then you find yourself 2-0 down and it's a tough ask to come back from that."

For Blackburn boss Steve Kean, the result - Rovers' third home win in succession - was the perfect way to celebrate the new long-term contract he signed this week.

The three points lifted Rovers up to seventh in the Barclays Premier League table and Kean singled out the display of Hoilett, who added to the winner he scored in the FA Cup against QPR two weeks ago.

Kean said: "We see it every day in training and it's just good that everyone's seeing it on the pitch because he's a quality player and I think he's a match-winner when he's on that form."

He added: "I think we played some nice stuff. There were key moments in the game, especially from Paul Robinson keeping us in it at times, but I thought overall we were good value for the three points."