SHEFFIELD Wednesday head coach Stuart Gray saw his side snatch a late draw against promotion-chasing Bournemouth with a penalty – and then refuted Bournemouth counterpart Eddie Howe’s assertion that the Owls were lucky not to have one given against them.
Howe was at a loss as to why his Bournemouth side were not awarded a “clear-cut” penalty in this draw with Wednesday.
The Cherries looked on course for a return to the top of the Championship going into stoppage time after Yann Kermorgant and Matt Ritchie scored, only for Chris Maguire to earn the Owls a point from the spot after a foul on Atdhe Nuhiu.
But it was the failure of referee Paul Tierney to give the hosts their 16th spot-kick of the campaign in the 65th minute for a foul on striker Callum Wilson that left Howe frustrated.
The former Coventry man, who has won Bournemouth a string of spot-kicks in recent months with his pace and direct running, looked to have been fouled by Lewis Buxton but the decision was not given, sparking a furious reaction from supporters behind the goal.
However, Owls boss Gray said Buxton believes he got a touch to the ball when tackling Wilson.
“I respect what the referee decided,” said Gray.
“Lewis Buxton said he got a touch of the ball first and you can understand the crowd’s reaction.
“The referee had a decision to make and Bournemouth have had 15 penalties this season so they are obviously doing something right going forward.”
Howe countered: “I don’t even know what to say because I don’t want to get myself in trouble. Let me say I disagree with the decision.
“That for me is the most clear-cut penalty I’ve seen this season involving my side. And a red card.
“I can’t understand why it wasn’t given. You will have to ask the referee whether the amount of penalties he (Wilson) has got has worked against him. Who knows? For me a penalty is a penalty and it has got to be given.”
Bournemouth had bounced back from Kieran Lee’s opener and had then taken the lead despite having 10 men following Simon Francis’s second yellow card.
Gray was heartened with Wednesday’s fighting spirit even though there was nothing on the line with safety secured.
“We knew it was going to be difficult coming here because their tails are up,” he added.
“When we went 2-1 down I was thinking we didn’t deserve that as my players were giving everything. We thought maybe it wasn’t going to be our day but we kept going until the final whistle.”
Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook (Jones 64), Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Pugh (Smith 57), Kermorgant (Ward 81), Wilson. Unused substitutes: Camp, Gosling, Pitman, Fraser.
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Lees, Zayatte (Vermijl 46), Helan, Hutchinson (Maghoma 15), Filipe Melo, Maguire, Lee, Isgrove (Nuhiu 63), Lavery. Unused substitutes: Westwood, May, McCabe, Bus.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).