Neil Warnock: “That refereeing decision could have cost us promotion!”

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock has criticised referee Peter Bankes for awarding Birmingham City a second-half penalty ‘that could have cost them promotion’.

Despite Cardiff wasting a number of second-half opportunities, goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Craig Bryson and Callum Patterson saw the Bluebirds edge the game 3-2.

The blues were handed a life-line when Peter Bankes pointed to the penalty spot following an alleged foul on Jota.

Birmingham captain Craig Gardener duly converted, but Warnock saw a much clearer offence on Junior Hoilett minutes later when the Canadian was felled in the 18-yard box, just before he was about to shoot.

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“Once the referee gave that decision it gave them a lift and I couldn’t see them getting a lift until he interfered” bemoaned Warnock.

“And when I watch it back, it’s for nothing really.

“You wouldn’t call security in a shopping centre for that. He’s made up his mind to give it – there was no reason to give it!

“It was nowhere near as bad as the one for Hoilett, who was about to shoot and has his leg taken away.”

He added: “Peter is a decent ref but I’m sure he’ll be disappointed today when he watches it back on video. I can’t see what he gave it for, and not one (Birmingham) player appealed for a penalty. Just look at their reaction.

“He wanted to give that and that could have cost us promotion if it was 3-3 in the end.”

However, Warnock commended his players for not letting the decision deter them as they secured their sixth straight victory, keeping them on track to secure promotion and end their four-year absence from the top-flight.

The Bluebirds last experienced defeat on new-years day and since then have gone ten league matches unbeaten.

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“It’s a great three points,” said the 69-year-old.

“It’s difficult to keep winning Saturday to Tuesday but I thought we did ever-so-well.

“We had some great chances in the second-half and we could have won by five or six today, but all credit to the lads who kept on going.

“We’ve had a few dicky decisions, but the main thing is three points.”

The Yorkshire-man also praised the scorer of his first side’s goal; Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, as the 25-year-old netted his first goal since August.

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“I thought he (Mendez-Laing) did really well on Tuesday night against Barnsley, hitting the post,” said Warnock.

“In training, he’s been on fire – probably the best finisher out of all of the lads. I said to him in training that we need his last ten games to be like his first ten games then we’ve cracked it.

“He’s an exciting player and he’s got his confidence back. It’s all about confidence.”

The Championship manager of the month for February now turns his attention to his side’s Tuesday night encounter against mid-table Brentford at Griffin Park.

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