7:00am Wednesday 18th September 2013
By Paul Fraser
AFTER a dramatic night of football at the City Ground, Tony Mowbray was left bemused by referee Phil Dowd's failure to give a penalty in the closing stages of last night's 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest.
Mowbray was frustrated by his own team's defensive mistakes after watching Boro surrender a two-goal lead courtesy of goals from Kei Kamara and George Friend.
But even when the game was heading for a draw, Middlesbrough would still have had a late chance to reclaim the lead had Dowd awarded a clear penalty.
Substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz was man-handled in the area by former Sunderland defender Greg Halford, but a free-kick was awarded to Forest instead and the home team could actually have gone on to claim the points themselves.
Mowbray's counterpart Billy Davies was also furious with Dowd's display, particularly after watching striker Darius Henderson receive a yellow card for simulation when he rounded Jason Steele in the Middlesbrough goal.
There were also other controversies, such as a penalty conceded by Rhys Williams for a foul on Radoslaw Majewski, which was saved by Steele, while Emanuel Ledesma was sent off in stoppage-time for a dangerous tackle on Henri Lansbury.
Mowbray said: “I have got to be careful what I say about referees. I know what both benches were probably thinking …
“I know where the ball went went Rhys made the tackle. He (Dowd) stood for an age, almost being over dramatic before giving a penalty. It was ridiculous for him to stand there in almost stillness while the play went on.
“It was as if his brain was ticking over time. He was over dramatic. Steele made a fantastic save though.
“Lukas' penalty shout? If it's not a penalty then I am not sure what is. Literally he (Halford) had two hands around his waist pulling him to the floor. I don't know how referees' mentality works.
“I'm sure they don't, because I've never questioned any referees integrity, try to even things up, but earlier on he had booked one of their players for diving, he might have thought it was a penalty. I don't know. We should have been talking about the great game of football we have just watched.”
Mowbray – who felt Ledesma's “personality” should have been taken in to account for his tackle – was satisfied with his team's display against one of the Championship's most fancied teams.
But the Middlesbrough boss is demanding silly mistakes are cut out, just days after seeing his team lose 3-1 at Ipswich after scoring first.
“The team had fantastic desire and effort,” he said. “We got ourselves two goals up, we still threatened their goal, even if we cleared plenty out of our box. We could have gone 3-0 up. We played against a good side, yet the boys are very disappointed with the nature of their goals.
“The bottom line is it should have been our night. The good sides don't lose two goal leads away from home. Again, basic defending caught us out even if we dealt with a lot of balls in to our box.”
Middlesbrough ended up settling for a point after Forest's substitutes Matt Derbyshire and Darius Henderson scored a goal each in the final 22 minutes.
The collapse meant Middlesbrough are still searching for the second win of the season ahead of this Saturday's visit of Bournemouth to the Riverside.
Mowbray said: “We have played seven games and we have played some really good football. It is easy to be shot at. You get statistics thrown at you, the bottom line is we have to win games.
“We are playing miles better this year than we did last year. It will even itself out. There are only positives from me despite dropping points.
“If I felt confidence was low, I might try to mask it in a different way, but this squad believes it has a chance of being in and around the top six this year.”
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