Hughton bemoans penalty snub
Chris Hughton bemoaned Newcastle's failure to win a penalty as Gary Johnson admitted Bristol City rode their luck after a goalless draw at St James' Park. Newcastle felt they were denied an "absolute certain" penalty in the stalemate after Marlon Harewood appeared to be felled in the box by substitute Jamie McCombe. Referee Graham Salisbury waved away Newcastle's appeals much to the astonishment of the home side Hughton. "For me, it was an absolute certain penalty. There are some penalties where you are not sure whether the referee is going to give it or not," fumed Hughton. "I could have almost looked away because my first impression was just waiting for the referee to point to the spot." FrustratingHughton added: "It was very frustrating, but I couldn't fault the manner, in particular in the second half, of our approach to go and win the game against a good Bristol City side who came with a formation which certainly frustrated us. "But we had opportunities and if we had taken one of those opportunities, I could have seen us going on and getting further goals." Bristol City boss Johnson admitted his side had perhaps had a lucky escape over the penalty appeal. "I must admit, my heart was in my mouth at the time," admitted Johnson. "The lads felt there was a bit of contact but from our point of view, maybe he was starting to go down early, we don't know. "But he [Salisbury] was very brave with forty-odd thousand people screaming for a penalty, anyway." PraiseJohnson was delighted with his players, and particularly Gerken, who only discovered he was playing five minutes before kick-off after Adriano Basso picked up a groin injury during the warm-up. "We made that decision at 2.55pm. I was going to give my super motivational speech and I need them all smiling when I give that and Basso, was grimacing a little bit and doing a stretch on his groin," added Johnson. "I knew today we needed people to be 100% mentally and physically, and he didn't look either at the time. "We were able to bring Dean Gerken in and on the day, I would have thought he was a candidate for man of the match."
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