'The two decisions are really poor' – Lambert slams referee Stroud after 2-1 defeat at Villa
PUBLISHED: 18:14 26 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 27 January 2019
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert slammed referee Keith Stroud following this afternoon’s 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa.
Tammy Abraham converted from the penalty spot (61) to put the hosts 2-0 up after an innocuous coming together between Alan Judge and John McGinn at a corner.
Town then staged a spirited fight back. The Blues saw penalty shouts turned down after Collin Quaner rounded the keeper and saw his shot blocked by the trailing arm of sliding defender Tommy Elphick.
Freddie Sears pulled a goal back with a 25-yard rocket into the top corner before Trevoh Chalobah glanced a header off the post .
“I thought we were really good,” said Lambert, his team still seven points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table after suffering their seventh consecutive defeat on the road.
“The first one, absolutely, is a poor goal from us. After that we started to get ourselves bedded into the game and second half I thought we played really well.
“One team came here and gave the other a game. That’s why I’m disappointed, because he (Stroud) missed the two big moments.” The animated Blues boss continued: “The two decisions are really poor. That’s never a penalty for Villa and it’s certainly a penalty for us. It’s a blatant handball, I’ve seen it. And if that’s a penalty down the other end then you’d get penalties given every game. That an incredible, absolutely incredible, decision that he made.
“Some of the decisions today were strange.”
On Elphick’s handball, he said: “It wouldn’t look out of place in the NBA! Jesus Christ it’s handball. It’s unbelievable. It’s an unbelievable decision. The linesman’s standing right there. It’s blatant.”
On the penalty awarded to Villa, he said: “I used to play the game. Judge rolls it, nae problem, and the boy (McGinn) goes down. It’s not the boy’s fault. The referee should have seen it. That’s my gripe. Two big, big moments that he’s missed.”
Town have now had four penalties given against them in their last five league games. Asked if he felt luck was against his team, Lambert said: “You create your own luck. We’re just looking for things to go our way. Those two decisions were incredible.
“Then we hit the post and are on top. I can’t ask for anymore from my team. I’m proud of the way we played.”
He continued: “I had a meeting with a referee not long ago after the Millwall game because I wasn’t happy with that (penalty). I’m still waiting for a report because he said he was going to look at it.
“I’m just about to (go and see Stroud now). I can’t tell you (what I’ll say) can I? I’m not going to lose the money (by getting fined) because I’ve done that enough. But I’m not having that. I want to hear the explanation because it’s wrong what happened there.”
He continued: “I’m not going to say I’m blaming referees. Referees don’t win and lose you games. The thing is those two decisions went against us, without a doubt. We were in the ascendancy, the crowd were going against them and I couldn’t ask anymore from my team.
“We’ve been excellent. We’ve been really good football wise. Rotherham, second half, we didn’t perform but we got the result. Blackburn I don’t think we deserved anything from. But every other game we’ve been well in it, well in it.
“We don’t look like a team at the bottom of the table that’s for sure. We’ve got really good spirit, the crowd have been brilliant and I can’t ask anymore for the way we are playing.
“We just need to keep going the way we are going and take our chances when they come. We need a little bit of luck, every team does, but performance-wise and the way we are playing is great. I love watching us play, I really do.”
With five of his six January signings featuring again, Lambert added: “A lot of them haven’t played a lot of games. I think Quaner had played less than 40 minutes in six months before coming here. I thought he looked great when he came on.
“It’s the same for Will Keane, Judge, (James) Collins... you could go through them all. Their game-time time was really, really low. What I can’t question is their attitude and desire. They’ve been excellent.
“As I’ve said before, you judge it by the crowd’s reaction and they were excellent again today. If we keep this feeling and keep doing what we’re doing, well there are a hell of a lot of points to play for. We’re still in the fight.”
On his decision to replace Dean Gerken with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal, Lambert added: “I just changed it. Deano’s been doing brilliant for us, but I need two keepers who are fully fit. I just decided to change it. Bart never had too much to do and made a brilliant save at the death.”