Clarke 'flabbergasted' at penalty award after Chelsea draw

The Scot believes Ramires was on his way down before colliding with Steven Reid in the 96th minute, giving Eden Hazard the chance to snatch a draw for the Blues
By Liam Twomey at Stamford Bridge

Steve Clarke blasted Andre Marriner's decision to award Chelsea a 96th-minute penalty - which denied his West Brom side a first league win at Stamford Bridge since 1978.

The Baggies led through goals from Shane Long and Stephane Sessegnon after Samuel Eto'o had opened the scoring before the interval, only for Marriner to judge that Steven Reid had felled Ramires at the death.

5/6 The Baggies are 5/6 with BetVictor to finish highest out of any Midlands club this season
Replays showed minimal contact between the two men, and Clarke has no doubt that his team were wronged by the officials.

"It's very hard to take," he told reporters. "I'm very disappointed, very sad for my team because they deserved to get the three points, but also proud of them.  

"We came here, we had a way we wanted to play, a plan to try and get three points, and in the first half did most of the plan right. We frustrated Chelsea but we didn't show enough ambition to go forward. We got mugged at just before half-time, but we responded great.

"For long periods in the second half we were the better team. I'm just disappointed that a decision has cost us two points, and it’s not the first time.

"In my opinion three penalty decisions this season have cost us five points, and in the Premier League five points are hard to get. Hopefully it’s not too costly for us in the long run."

When asked whether he had sought an explanation from Marriner after the match, Clarke replied: "What's the point? I can’t change the decision. I’m flabbergasted at the decision, I can’t believe he gave it but I can’t change it.

"I've been in the game a long time and I knew when [Ramires] went down that he was already on the way down before anyone was near him.

"The referee has to be 100 per cent sure it's a penalty. How he can be 100 per cent sure in that instance is beyond me. It was a bad decision.

"It's the kind of penalty that can be given when you've got a home crowd that shout for everything and put pressure on the referee. Referees are human.

"They can make mistakes but, for us, it should have been three points from Stamford Bridge, which would have been fantastic result. Instead it's just a good result, but the team was tremendous."