Jones fury as official misses Pearce ‘palming it down’

Sheffield Wednesday belatedly got off the mark in the Yorkshire derby at Elland Road on Saturday but Dave Jones was again left to bemoan certain refereeing decisions. Leon Wobschall reports.

Sheffield Wednesday Manager Dave Jones

DESPITE being manager of Sheffield Wednesday for almost a year-and-a-half, Dave Jones is still awaiting a noteworthy first.

Incredibly, the veteran boss has yet to see his Owls side be awarded a penalty on their travels during his Hillsborough tenure, with another tale of frustration ensuing in Saturday’s derby draw at Leeds United.

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Jones was left to bemoan a controversial moment seven minutes before the end of proceedings with the game on a knife-edge at 1-1, when strong appeals for handball against home defender Jason Pearce fell on deaf ears, with referee Roger East remaining unmoved.

The Liverpudlian was similarly incredulous on the opening day of the Championship season just over a fortnight ago in the Owls’ opening-day league loss at Queens Park Rangers, when the visitors’ appeals for a penalty after a challenge from Rangers midfielder Joey Barton on Jacques Maghoma were turned down by referee Scott Mathieson.

That incident ended with Maghoma being booked for diving, with the former Burton Albion winger also involved in Saturday’s controversial incident, with the sub’s point-blank shot blocked by Stephen Warnock before hitting the arm of Pearce.

The upshot of it all is that Wednesday, awarded just four penalties last season – in comparison to Leeds’s tally of 11 – are still awaiting their first spot-kick award in an away league fixture since December 10, 2011, when former striker Ryan Lowe netted in a 2-0 victory at Oldham Athletic.

On the late weekend drama, Jones – who celebrated his 57th birthday on Saturday – said: “He (Pearce) actually saved it!

“I am being told I have too many moans about these things. But he stops a goal from going into the net from six yards out. He actually palms it down.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s intentional or not. If it is going in the back of the net and it hits him, it’s a penalty.

“His arm is up in the air and they tell you that you can’t put your arm up in the air. But it is not that it hits him in the air; he actually dragged it down and the keeper is then able to clear it.

“I don’t know...We just have get on with it. I will send off the video again and we will just rack them up. We will get one (a penalty) sooner or later. I think we are due one.

“The only good thing is that when we claimed for it, we weren’t booked for simulation.”

That incident apart, Jones – once again the target for vicious chants from a minority of home fans among the 23,766 crowd – was satisfied with the Owls’ efforts, despite his side still awaiting their first league victory this term.

The Liverpudlian held his post-match press conference pitch-side with Wednesday having informed Leeds during the week that Jones would not be holding his conference in the usual press room area because it would involve walking past home supporters.

Jones famously branded a section of Leeds supporters as ‘vile animals’ last October when he was subjected to chants about child abuse charges of which he was cleared 13 years ago during a combustive derby clash at Hillsborough.

That televised game last autumn also saw Owls goalkeeper Chris Kirkland attacked on the pitch by away ‘fan’ Aaron Cawley, with Jones aiming strong criticism towards the away contingent following the match.

Offering his overall take on Saturday’s game, Jones said: “It was a hard-fought point and an important one.

“If you had said before the game, we would come to Elland Road and get a point, I think most people would have taken it.

“It’s just when you see certain circumstances and incidents, 
you think we could have done better.

“Certainly their goal was stoppable. We were messing around with the ball on the half-way line and gave it away too easily and we should have picked up the runner. Kamil (Zayatte) committed himself a little bit too early, but for the rest of the game, he did well.

“He made one mistake and got punished for it.

“But I thought overall we defended stoutly and were strong and caused them problems when the game opened up.

“With a bit more luck and care and attention, we might have won it.

“We felt we should have got something from the two league games before Saturday, so confidence was good and still high. But we’re just disappointed we didn’t come away with maximum points.

“I thought in the first half, we were really good and in the second half, we knew they were going to come at us.

“We probably lost a grip of the game a little bit when they got the equaliser. But we had some chances and maybe if the referee was looking the right way, we might have got what we deserved.

“But I am fed up of saying it now. We are not going to get it (a penalty) ever; I don’t think we are ever going to be given one.”