The old 'it evens itself out' clich is a load of rubbish

Last updated : 18 January 2009 By Tony Scholes
Preston boss Alan Irvine, whilst conceding they had benefited from two somewhat dubious decisions was claiming they should have had penalties earlier in the game. On the early incident, that was clearly something and nothing he said: "I thought that the one after five minutes was a definite penalty and I thought that it was a sending off, not that I wanted Steven Caldwell to be sent off. I've known him for a long time and he is a fantastic lad but the rules are the rules.

"The first one that was given, there was contact, I'm not sure Stephen Elliott was catching it but he has poked it just before Brian Jensen was getting there and there was contact after the at. The second one was for handball, whether it was deliberate or not but I wish I knew what was going to be given in these circumstances because unfortunately I am never quite sure.

"Things that you think are going to be penalties sometimes aren't and things that you think are not going to be penalties sometimes are, I am not sure anybody is too sure what is going to happen when it strikes somebody's hand in the penalty area."

Then crucially, Irvine added: "I can understand Owen feeling aggrieved, without any question," before going on to say: "Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you. I can think back to several occasions when we have expected penalties to be given for us for handball inside the box and they haven't been given."

Away from those incidents, Irvine said: "If we had managed to finish off one of the chances after going 1-0 up then that might have changed things a little bit but we didn't do that so Burnley were always in the game at that point.

"I think you have to hold your hand up and say that it was great technique from Robbie Blake. I don't think there is anyone I can blame for that one but I'll have a look and see if there is anybody. I've got my own thoughts about it getting there in the first place, I don't think we did well. We had possession of the ball in the middle of the park but we lost possession and then conceded the free kick. When you've got players of the quality of Robbie Blake then there's a real threat there.

"It was always going to be a tight game, they always are for us in the Championship but you add to that the form of the two teams and the positions that the two teams are in and also the fact that it was the local derby, I didn't think there was going to be too much in it.

"It's a great win for us and it keeps the run going at home. We knew that it was going to be a very tough game because Burnley are a very good side and Owen has done a fantastic job there. He's got a lot of very good players, a lot of clever players and we knew that it was going to be the type of game where we would have to be very good defensively and we would need to play well in order to open them up."

There is absolutely no doubt that it was a very angry Owen Coyle who faced the media after this defeat. His manner at the end of the game as he approached Taylor said it all as did his facial expressions during the Sky interview when he admitted he would be up in front of the FA if he said what he thought.

"You know instinctively in football whether something is right or wrong and I told the referee at the end 'you've got that so wrong'. I asked him when he sees it again to please feel free to apologise," Coyle said.

"If I was wrong I would be the first to apologise, as I did yesterday to the linesman at the QPR game, when I thought Di Carmine was offside when he scored. He wasn't and I rang the lad to apologise.

"We'll see if this referee is of the same ilk, although to be fair to him he did give me his business card at the end, so maybe he feels confident he is right."

"It's the same old story and it's becoming embarrassing. During the game I never thought they were penalties. For the first one I think their lad fell over Brian and to have that given against us it would have ben easy to feel sorry, but these lads came back and Robbie scored a wonder free kick.

"We were in charge of the game and looked set to win it if truth be told, but the second penalty is beyond belief. I feel for the fans and the players for everything they have offered today. It's just so wrong.

"If we had been beaten fair and square I could take that, but Preston haven't beaten us today - the referee has.

"Everything I have asked of the players today they have given me and we certainly weren't deserving of that. The old 'it evens itself out' cliché is a load of rubbish and that has been born out. In my tenure here I cannot recall us receiving too many favourable decisions, whereas I can recall at least a dozen against us. There is certainly an imbalance.