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Ref upsets Clough

Derby boss Nigel Clough was left bemoaning Premier League officialdom following his side's FA Cup exit yesterday.

Goals from striker Cameron Jerome in the fifth minute and defender Robert Huth in the 81st eased last season's beaten finalists into the hat for the fifth round.

It was Jerome's opener that most annoyed Clough, the Rams' manager claiming he was offside before prodding home his third goal in consecutive appearances -- and fourth in five overall -- to end Derby's run of four consecutive clean sheets.

From such a start, the npower Championship club were always on the back foot, and against a resilient Stoke side mustered just one effort on target in the whole match. Even then that was more a cross from a free-kick that goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was forced to tip over the bar.

Referee Mark Clattenburg and one of his assistants, however, failed to spot Jerome's position when he set the Potters on their way.

"You just hope the Premier League officials would do a little better in that situation."

Asked if he had spoken to Clattenburg to air his grievances, Clough added: "I've not, and we're not allowed to until 30 minutes after a game. We don't tend to do that anyway, so we'll just put it in our report.

"For us, it's obviously a crucial moment when you concede a goal after five minutes at home to Stoke, who are eighth in the Premier League, and it doesn't let you get a foothold in the game. You need everything to go for you in these sorts of cup ties, you need a break here or there, and we didn't quite get it."

The clinching strike came from Huth with a low volley from 12 yards after he met an outswinging corner from Jermaine Pennant, whose introduction in the 63rd minute galvanised the visitors.

Sunday Indo Sport