Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal was again left cursing his team’s bad luck after they were beaten 2-0 at Derby and had skipper Glenn Loovens sent off.
Loovens was red-carded in just the fourth minute for bringing down Matej Vydra, who scored the resulting penalty, but Wednesday were denied what even Rams boss Gary Rowett called “an obvious penalty” later in the first half when Craig Forsyth appeared to push Steven Fletcher in the back.
Referee Scott Duncan had no hesitation in pointing to the spot when Loovens fouled Vydra and after he sent Kieren Westwood the wrong way, Tom Lawrence struck a post as Derby dominated.
Wednesday showed spirit and first Gary Hooper seemed to be caught by Curtis Davies before Fletcher looked set to equalise when Barry Bannan put him in but he went down under pressure from Forsyth.
Derby laboured in the second half but finally sealed victory in the 86th minute when Johnny Russell played in substitute Bradley Johnson, who beat Westwood from 10 yards.
It left Carvalhal frustrated and he said: “There were two situations, because Gary Hooper’s looked like a penalty also and this is the fourth game in a row where we have critical decisions against us.
“(The Loovens incident) seemed like a penalty and a red card but when we have a similar situation, it makes a massive impact because it could be 1-1 and Derby will play with 10 players.
“I don’t know if I’m more upset that the referee doesn’t give the penalty or what he says to Fletcher because he says to Fletcher ‘I saw that he push your shirt but you must stay up’, which I think is bad in my opinion.
“But I know my players and after this game, with this performance and what we did by showing the heart and commitment, it makes me believe the future will be better.”
Rowett had some sympathy for Carvalhal and admitted: “I’ve really mixed feelings.
“I gave the players a piece of my mind at half-time because it was really, really sloppy.
“It can happen like that against 10 men but I wasn’t happy after the game either. It was good play by us for the penalty but they also felt they could have had a penalty, it looked an obvious penalty, I’m not sure why Fletcher would go down in that position if it wasn’t.
“We were better second half, marginally, but I was certainly very pleased to get the second goal. I said to the players at half-time, ‘you’re very lucky it’s 1-0 because it could easily have been 1-1’.
“But there’s a lot more to come from us, there’s a lot to improve on in the team and I thought we would get better as the season progresses.”