BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer believes his side were ‘done over’ and ‘let down’ by the officials in last night’s 3-1 defeat at Norwich City.
After Tom Cairney fired them into a stunning first-minute lead Rovers were denied a stonewall penalty when Steven Whittaker clearly handled Jordan Rhodes’ goalbound header in the box.
And salt was rubbed into the wounds midway through a thrilling first half when referee Graham Scott awarded a penalty to Norwich after he adjudged Jason Lowe to have handled Wes Hoolahan’s cross into the area despite the fact the right back had his arm down by his side.
Paul Robinson saved the resulting spot kick from Lewis Grabban.
However Grabban scored from the rebound and notched his second in injury time after Bradley Johnson had put Norwich in front three minutes before the end of normal time following a sustained period of second-half pressure.
The loss ended Rovers’ 14-match unbeaten run in the Championship and left a bitter taste in the mouth of Bowyer who, while remaining restrained, was clearly bristling with indignation underneath.
He said: “We feel we’ve been on the wrong side of two major decisions in the game – it is as simple as that.
“Kyle Naughton got sent off on Saturday for Tottenham at West Ham for doing something exactly the same as to what happened here and we didn’t get the decision.
“We go to these meetings and we have to listen to the rules and regulations from the referees and the LMA (League Managers Association) and the wording now is ‘unnatural position’ for the hand.
“Well their lads’ hand was chest high and Jason Lowe’s was down by his side so we have been very, very harshly done over.
“But I thought we responded well (to the decisions). They are a fantastic outfit, look at the attacking options they’ve got, they had 26,000 roaring them on, and the environment was a tough one to play in.
“But I thought we coped well with it so we were absolutely gutted to concede late on.
“But the response after we conceded was impressive. We had one headed off the line, (John) Ruddy saved another, and we kept going and going.
“I think you saw the relief of Norwich when their third went. It showed they knew that they’d had a real test and had been in a real game.
“Unfortunately key moments have gone against us which have influenced the game massively.
“We’ve been let down.”
Rovers midfielder Corry Evans required medical attention after appearing to have been fouled in the lead up to the Canaries’ killer third goal which sparked a bust-up on the sidelines between both backroom staffs.
But Bowyer insisted it was just ‘passion’ boiling over.
He added: “They were celebrating their third goal and were getting in the way when we were trying to get our medical people on to treat Corry Evans, who we feared had been knocked out.
“There was not a lot in it.”