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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Damien Delaney condemns linesman for penalty decision in Crystal Palace loss

Published 07/03/2016 | 11:06

Crystal Palace's Damien Delaney conceded a late penalty to Liverpool's Christian Benteke
Crystal Palace's Damien Delaney conceded a late penalty to Liverpool's Christian Benteke

Damien Delaney has reiterated his belief that his challenge on Christian Benteke did not warrant a penalty, insisting linesman Scott Ledger "could not wait to give" the decision.

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Crystal Palace were holding Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Sunday when Benteke went down in the area in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time, despite minimal contact with Delaney, before scoring from the resultant penalty.

Referee Andre Marriner had hesitated until Ledger's intervention, when the linesman waved to indicate a foul, and after manager Alan Pardew accused Benteke of diving, Delaney, who wrote on Instagram that he waited an hour to speak to Marriner after the final whistle and of his belief it should not have been a penalty, said: "It seemed like (Benteke) overran it maybe and went down. I did not feel any contact.

"That is a big call. I looked at the referee immediately and he gave a goal kick. It was only afterwards I saw loads of people running towards the linesman. It sums us up at the minute.

"I did not feel any contact. When I saw him go down and looked around to the referee giving a goal kick, I thought it was the correct decision. Someone said the linesman was flagging furiously.

"There is no way he could have been 100 per cent sure. He gave it so quickly. I looked at it afterwards and he is flagging before he has even hit the ground. It looked like he could not wait to give it. It looked like he wanted to give it.

"I would like to see a crackdown on (diving). I did not think it was a penalty."

Palace remain the only top-flight team yet to secure a league victory in 2016, with their last win coming at Stoke on December 19.

Since then, however, they have beaten Southampton, Stoke and Tottenham in the FA Cup to progress to the quarter-finals, where on Friday they will visit Reading.

And after an improved performance against Liverpool - particularly for the first hour - Delaney said: "That is probably the best we have played for a long time. We are almost asking ourselves what we have to do to win a game.

"We plough on, there is not much we can do about it. We have a nine-point cushion to the bottom three. It is not ideal but we have just got to get on with it.

"It was the best we played over a 90-minute period for a long time. No one is going to go home and cry about it.

"We cannot feel sorry for ourselves. It is done now, we have to draw a line under it and start again.

"(The Reading fixture) is a big one. If we can reproduce the way we played (against Liverpool), I am confident we can get a good result there. It is a short turnaround to Friday night. Thank God we had accumulated so many points so early in the season."

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