West Ham boss Avram Grant felt his side were denied a legitimate goal in stoppage time at Wolves as their search for an away win continues.
After Mark Noble’s penalty had cancelled out Matt Jarvis’ first-half opener in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Molineux, Hammers frontman Frederic Piquionne thought he had netted a late winner when he put the ball past Marcus Hahnemann in the dying moments of the match.
However, referee Mark Clattenburg judged that Piquionne had handled before shooting and booked the striker, with the game ending 1-1.
West Ham, who remain bottom of the table, have now gone 22 league fixtures on the road without tasting victory since they triumphed 2-0 at Wolves on the opening day of last season, and although he did not have too many harsh words for Clattenburg, Grant was sure the official had got the Piquionne decision wrong.
"All of us have seen it now on the television and we saw that it was a goal," Grant said.
"Mark, in my opinion, is one of the best referees. He is a very good referee and they are human beings who make mistakes, but unfortunately it was against us and it cost us two points.
"It is not the first time it has happened to us. It happened in the first game against Aston Villa, the first goal against (Manchester) United, the first goal against Bolton – all mistakes of the referee.
"Mark is a very good referee and I feel sorry about him, but more about myself."
In Grant’s view, Clattenburg made the right call to award the penalty when Kevin Foley brought down Victor Obinna in the 53rd minute, but the Israeli was convinced that in the later incident, Piquionne did not touch the ball with his hand.
"I saw on television that it was a penalty, Victor beat the player," said Grant, who confirmed Matthew Upson had missed the game due to a problem with his neck and back.
"He is a very good referee but what happened in the last minute – it could have been very sweet for us. It was clear – it hit his chest and it was not even close to his hand."
Asked where the away win was going to come from, Grant said: "If we continue like this it will come. Today we won, but the referee decided not."
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy, whose team stay 19th, thought Clattenburg had been harsh on Foley to give the penalty but correct to rule out Piquionne’s strike.
"At the time I couldn’t have told you what I thought about the penalty, but I have seen it since and I think it is very harsh on Foles," McCarthy said.
"I have seen the last one and I thought it was a handball at the time. I appealed for a handball because he seemed to put himself down to do it.
"I haven’t seen as a good a replay for that as I did for the penalty. I think it is a real soft penalty, I really do.
"He is going down and I think he has got it wrong, but at the time I couldn’t tell – I was too far away.
"It’s wonderful when you get one of those decisions in your favour and it stinks when you don’t.
"It’s kind of indicative of the way things have been, because we played well – it was a brilliant first-half performance.
"But perhaps we had to kill the game when we had the opportunities."
McCarthy also revealed that Jody Craddock, who had been named Wanderers captain in place of the suspended Karl Henry, came off after five minutes because of a strain in the area around his hip and would be assessed over the next few days.