Saturday 20 January 2018

Toon's Hughton lashes out at poor refereeing as City's victory moves club into second place

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has accused Martin Atkinson of getting the big penalty decisions wrong at Manchester City yesterday.

The Magpies fell behind to one that Hughton was convinced should not have been given for a Mike Williamson foul on City's star striker Carlos Tevez.

Then, as Newcastle tried to battle back from what turned out to be the winning goal by Adam Johnson, their manager was equally certain that Shola Ameobi had been upended by Joleon Lescott.

"This game was always going to be difficult with the world-class players Manchester City have and the lads they have got on the bench," said Hughton. "You need things to go your way. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.

"The referee has made two horrendous decisions. Mike Williamson had played the ball and, also, the tackle was outside the box.

"Then Shola Ameobi's standing foot was taken away from him."

Newcastle's misery was compounded by the broken leg Hatem Ben Arfa suffered, with the club revealing he will undergo surgery today on a broken left tibia and fibula.

The Frenchman did not even get a free-kick for the challenge by Nigel de Jong, which has drawn a stinging response from ex-professionals, although Hughton kept his counsel.

"It was a challenge that did not need to be made," he said. "I don't want to speak about challenges. Hatem has broken his leg.

"When you have a young, talented player with that type of injury it is upsetting."

Hughton's frustration came from the knowledge his side deserved a point at Eastlands.

Once Tevez had converted that early penalty, the visitors fought their way back into the contest.

Jonas Gutierrez levelled with a blistering close-range effort and, after Johnson had scored within three minutes of his introduction as a substitute, Williamson wasted a glorious chance to level when he headed over from close range.

"You have to give credit to the boss," said City assistant manager Brian Kidd, who was able to celebrate the Blues moving into second spot, a point ahead of neighbours United.

"He (Mancini) was not prepared to draw. He wanted to win. The way he changed his tactics after half-time proved that."

City certainly have the strength in depth to sustain a title challenge, which is just as well given De Jong will be spending a period on the sidelines if the English FA take a dim view of his challenge on Ben Arfa.

"It was not a rash challenge," declared Kidd. "(But) There was no malice. Nigel is not that type of lad."

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