Michael O’Neill hits out over key decision in Stoke’s defeat to Blackburn | OneFootball

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Football League World

·28 November 2021

Michael O’Neill hits out over key decision in Stoke’s defeat to Blackburn

Article image:Michael O’Neill hits out over key decision in Stoke’s defeat to Blackburn

Stoke City were beaten 1-0 at home to Blackburn on Saturday but were left incensed by a refereeing decision prior to the Rovers goal.

Reda Khadra scored what proved to be the winner in the 52nd minute as he latched onto a poor clearance from Ben Wilmott, driving the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.

The move for the goal started from a goal kick, but Stoke City are adamant it should have been their corner as Mario Vrancic’s shot appeared to flick off Jan Paul van Hecke before going over the Blackburn goal.

A goal kick was given and Blackburn went onto score leaving Michael O’Neill furious. He told media in his post match press conference: “If you look at the goal, Mario [Vrancic] has a strike that’s on target and takes two deflections and the referee in his wisdom decides to award a goal-kick.

“The ball is kicked forward, we have to defend that then I think Romaine [Sawyers] picks it up, gives the ball to Ben [Wilmot] and Ben’s clearance is closed down.

“Ultimately we should have been asking Blackburn to defend a corner as opposed to us having to defend a goal-kick. That’s what leads to the goal.”

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The defeat means Stoke drop out of top six, sitting one point behind QPR in sixth. The Potters are next in action on Saturday afternoon, when they travel to The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium to face QPR on Sunday afternoon.

The Verdict

Michael O’Neill has every right to be annoyed at the decision but that is not why Stoke conceded the goal.

They failed to clear the ball and failed to react once the ball bounced into Reda Khadra’s path and he did the rest. You’re asking a lot if you’re angry at a different phase of play, especially when Stoke defended that situation poorly.

Nonetheless, it’s back to back defeats for Stoke and with them missing so many key players, it’s going to be tricky December coming up for them.

Given the potential to push for a play-off place they have shown this season, that could develop into a rather frustrating situation for those involved with the Potters.

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