Car­val­hal protests get him sent off as Tigers level late

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

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

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