By Kai Bennett
Michael O’Neill reckoned Stoke City should’ve been awarded a “clear” penalty in the first-half – and added that they had a case for two more spot-kick shouts.
Tom Bradshaw’s second-half brace turned the game on its head after Romaine Sawyers had given the Potters the lead in the first half.
O’Neill said: “The first one’s a penalty on Sam Surridge. It’s a clear penalty. The handball? It does hit the arm but I’m not sure what the player can or can’t do in that situation although it wasn’t fired at him from that close range.
“For Tyrese [Campbell], there’s no attempt to play the ball there. The young kid [Dan] McNamara has to defend the back post and I think Tye had a chance to get to the cross but the referee saw it as he did.”
The former Northern Ireland manager was frustrated that Bradshaw was allowed space to score both of his goals.
O’Neill added: “I’m extremely disappointed with the result, obviously. There are some similarities with last week, conceding two goals in a very short space of time – and two goals which were clearly very preventable as well.
“You don’t expect to lose goals in your six-yard box playing three at the back – you should always have that extra cover. Sometimes it will happen when you play two centre-backs but with three it shouldn’t happen. We didn’t defend the box well enough.
“For 35 minutes we had been in control of the game. We allowed the opposition to creep into the game a little bit towards half-time. We addressed that at half-time, telling them to get back on the ball and play. We didn’t do it until we were 2-1 down.
“We were chasing the game at that point.
“It is concerning because when you’re ahead you have to be either ruthless enough to kill the game off – and we didn’t display that – secondly when you concede you have to be resilient enough not to concede again. We conceded again, very similar to last Saturday.”
Pictured: Tom Bradshaw celebrates his first goal in the 2-1 home win over Stoke PHOTO: BRIAN TONKS
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