Gary O’Neil was left fuming with the refereeing decision that sentenced his Wolves side to defeat at Bramall Lane this afternoon, as Sheffield United picked up their first win of the Premier League season. O’Neil’s side looked to have rescued a point thanks to Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s 89th-minute equaliser.
But there was more late drama to come, with Wolves sub Fabio Silva - who was booked for wiping out George Baldock in an aerial challenge that left the home side baying for a red card just moments after he came on - fouling Baldock deep into injury time. After a lengthy VAR check the penalty was confirmed and skipper Ollie Norwood smashed it in off the underside of the bar to spark jubilant scenes in S2.
O’Neil, though, did not share the joy. “It’s not a penalty,” he said afterwards, before appearing to accuse Baldock of playing for the foul. “I spoke to the referee, and I told him why it wasn’t a penalty. He says there’s contact – Fabio’s shinpad probably grazes Baldock’s calf. I’ve watched it loads of times and there’s minimal contact and if we’re giving fouls for that, there would have been a million fouls in that football match.
“The referee is so quick to want to give it, but it’s never a clear penalty. He needs to wait, be calm and if you’ve made a big error VAR will tell you. I’ve given up on penalties. I’m honestly lost, I don’t know where to go with it. I’m told to go in and have a sensible conversation, but he still watched it telling me it’s a penalty, which tells me we’re in a crazy place.
“I know exactly what’s happened, I played long enough, and Baldock knows just to move his foot across and he doesn’t even wait for contact, he starts to go down before, and he doesn’t see that which leads me to believe we’re in a bad spot.”