OWLS CHOKE ENRAGES CARLOS
Carvalhal protests get him sent off as Tigers level late
EMOTIONAL Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal laid into referee Michael Jones after seeing his side squander victory at the death.
Leading 2-1 after a Gary Hooper brace cancelled out Fraizer Campbell’s opener, Wednesday were denied a clear penalty when defender Ondrej Mazuch blocked a goalbound Adam Reach shot with his hands.
Carvalhal – under mounting pressure – was sent off for his protests and that fury only intensified when Michael Dawson poked home in the 95th minute.
“I am very upset,” he announced after storming into the media room. “Not about my players, because we did everything we had to. Not about me.
“I am upset because in ten games that is ten bad decisions against us. It is unbelievable. Watch the highlights and you will see it is a clear penalty. The pundits will all say it was a clear penalty. The defender, he acted like a goalkeeper. And I am upset because everything comes to me.
“These kind of decisions, they are not just about the points. It is about the situation at the club.
“If we win, the behaviour of the fans is completely different. The reaction of the critics is completely different.
“Everybody is happier, everybody comes to the game feeling more positive. Instead everyone is frustrated. And you know that this is not something I just imagine. No. This is something that is completely true.”
For a manager notoriously obsessed with technical detail, such a naked display of emotion proves the pressure of successive play-off failures is starting to sting.
Yet the notion that fine margins are behind the terrace grumbles is wrong. What irks the Hillsborough faithful are limp attacking displays like this abomination of a first half.
Behind after Campbell whipped a low strike inside the far post, the Owls showed as much ambition as a gap-year pothead. Indeed, had Hull possessed more quality and composure in the final third, Wednesday would have received the hiding their display deserved.
Several times the Tigers pounced on errors and broke for-
ward only for a bad decision or errant pass to halt their impetus.
Winger Jarrod Bowen spurned a glorious chance to feed Campbell, who then failed to connect with Irvine’s teasing delivery.
For a while, it seemed their profligacy would prove costly. Having greeted Steven Fletcher’s snapshot with ironic cheers, home supporters got behind their side as Carvalhal’s switch to 4-3-3 paid instant dividends.
First, Hooper emphatically ended a bout of penalty-area pinball by smashing high into Allan McGregor’s net.
The striker then collected a knockdown from 6ft 7ins substitute Atdhe Nuhiu – Big Dave to regulars – and drilled a fine effort into the far corner. At that stage, it was Slutsky’s turn to feel enraged.
“Every game, when we score a goal, we stop playing and try to keep this result,” complained the Russian. “We lose confidence, play deeper and deeper. This is not our strength because we don’t have a big forward who can control and keep the ball.”
Then came the two defining moments. Mazuch leapt like Billy the Fish to deny Reach, prompting a Portuguese detonation on the sidelines.
“I said to the fourth official ‘Hey, you can communicate with the referee’ and because of this I’m out,” said Carvalhal. “That is what happened.”
Then, with the game seemingly won, Wednesday inexplicably allowed Dawson the freedom of the penalty area to steer a deep cross in off the post.
“Very important,” added Slutsky, whose side haven’t won since October 21. “Maybe this is a sign that our luck has changed.”
LAST-GASP: Hull’s Michael Dawson celebrates scoring the all-important second goal after Gary Hooper netted Wednesday’s second, inset
LACED IT: Michael Dawson strikes low for the equaliser