Thursday 19 April 2018

Grant fury as 'farce' call denies Hammers


John Curtis

West Ham manager Avram Grant hit out at referee Michael Oliver after his side surrendered a two-goal lead in the draw at Birmingham.

Grant felt that Oliver should have awarded his side a late penalty after City substitute Jean Beausejour appeared to pull back Lars Jacobsen inside the penalty box, and labelled the decision "a farce".

Grant believed it was the latest in a line of decisions from officials to go against the bottom-placed Hammers, who had looked on course for their first away win of the season after scoring through Frederic Piquionne and Valon Behrami.

But the home side fought back and goals from Cameron Jerome and Liam Ridgewell rescued a point.

"Harry Redknapp used the word farce about the decisions of a referee and I agree with him," Grant said. "The referee was five metres from the incident when the shirt of Lars was pulled and he did not give a penalty. I'm very disappointed because this is not the first time it has happened to us.

"Similar things have happened against Wolves, Stoke, Aston Villa, Bolton and Manchester United where decisions have gone against us.

"What we saw from 50 metres, the referee could see from five metres and he needs to give a penalty. This is a farce."

Grant did, however, take some solace from his side's performance. "You saw a team that deserves to be in the middle of the table," he said. "We conceded a couple of easy goals and it cost us but if we continue to play like this, the points will come.

"We carried on like we have been playing in the last two games and Ben Foster made two unbelievable saves from Carlton Cole and Victor Obinna."

City manager Alex McLeish believes Foster will be pushing for an England spot if he maintains his current form.

"It was a fantastic save from Cole and Ben has been totally on top of his game from the day he arrived," he said. "He is in the frame for England, and he and Joe Hart are playing out of their skins at the moment."

Ridgewell has often weighed in with important goals for City and he produced another clinical finish to salvage a draw.

"Liam has had an eye for a goal going back to his youth team days and he's brought that into his time as a senior player," McLeish said. "He takes a gamble in following the ball into the box and sometimes gets on the end of things."

Sunday Independent

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