Premier League

January 1, 2013


West Ham United

2 - 1

Norwich City

Premier League

15:00 +00:00, January 1, 2013

Upton Park, England

Hughton unhappy with referee

Norwich manager Chris Hughton felt his team had been on the wrong end of some poor decisions in the 2-1 defeat at West Ham - their fourth straight Premier League loss.

The Irons, who last won against Chelsea on December 1, went ahead through a Mark Noble penalty after just three minutes when referee Mark Clattenburg spotted a shirt pull by defender Ryan Bennett on Winston Reid.

Norwich midfielder Robert Snodgrass rattled the woodwork with a free-kick before Joey O'Brien crashed home a second goal after 26 minutes, which proved enough for a morale-boosting victory ahead of next weekend's FA Cup tie against Manchester United.

Russell Martin netted a late consolation with a well-taken volley for his third goal in two games.

Snodgrass later posted a tweet claiming "the referee kills the game #gamesgone", and while accepting there was cause for a foul, Hughton felt the penalty award was soft, as well as highlighting other calls which went against the visitors.

"The key decisions in the game did not go in our favour, but we did not start well enough," said Hughton, who confronted Clattenburg as he left the pitch at both half-time and following the full-time whistle.

"We accept Ryan Bennett had hold of the lad's shirt, but I also saw Reid's forearm in Ryan's chest. They are very close, he is not pulling Reid so he cannot get away. It is something you see game in and game out right throughout the country.

"On almost every occasion you do not see a penalty, particularly when it is so early in the game, so I was very surprised when he gave it.

"I also don't accept it was not a foul on Alex Tettey leading up to the second goal and certainly was a handball in the first half and then the incident on Harry Kane. We have been on the end of poor decisions today."

After a ten-match unbeaten run which pulled Norwich away from the relegation zone, Hughton's side have endured a miserable run over the festive season, beaten at home by both Chelsea and Manchester City as well at West Brom.

The Canaries, however, still have daylight between themselves and the bottom three.

"We showed in the second half a bit more of what we are about," Hughton said. "Nobody has really given us a beating and they have all been really close games. We have to be at our best to get results and we have been close in the last four games. For us now it is about getting back to winning ways."

The Hammers, meanwhile, got their campaign back on track following a run of just two victories in the previous 11 outings.

Carlton Cole had missed a great chance to make it 3-0 when he blazed over from close range before the break, while Ricardo Vaz Te also saw his second-half header come back off the post.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce feels his side are moving in the right direction.

"I was wondering if we were going to hold our confidence and performance level at home," said Allardyce, who felt the referee had a "great view" of the penalty and made the "correct decision".

"It has been really good even though we have had two back-to-back defeats but today they showed they have the mentality to cope with whatever is thrown at them."

Allardyce hopes to have striker Andy Carroll available by the end of the month.

He continued: "The disappointing thing was the chances the front lads missed today, with balls just flashing across the box needed a tap in. We lost a goal in the 90th minute which made us edgy in the end when we should have been out of sight.

"We will continue to try to brush up on our finishing techniques with the lads and hope the next time round we are more clinical with our finishing."

Scoring Summary

West Ham United Norwich City
Mark Noble (pen 3')Russell Martin (90')
Joey O'Brien (26')