‘No idea’ - Nigel Pearson reaction to key penalty decisions in Bristol City’s FA Cup draw against Swansea

How the experienced manager saw the stalemate and his view on two key penalty decisions

Pearson at Ashton Gate.
Pearson at Ashton Gate.
Pearson at Ashton Gate.

Nigel Pearson joked that he was ‘unaware of a rule change’ in regard to two penalty shouts in Bristol City’s 1-1 FA Cup draw against Swansea City at Ashton Gate on Sunday.

Both Antoine Semenyo and Rob Atkinson went down in the area in two separate incidents in the first half, but referee Craig Pawson said no to both claims.

A poor error from Atkinson presented Liam Cullen with the chance to set up Joel Piroe to slot into an empty net after 15 minutes to give the Swans the advantage.

Moments later, Semenyo looked to have been fouled in the area, before Atkinson took a tumble on the stroke of halftime.

It was Semenyo who levelled the game up in the 75th minute following a cross from Andreas Weimann, and the two sides will face off against each other again to decide who will progress into the fourth round.

After the match, Pearson said: “We had a go in both halves. Two penalty decisions that were… no idea why they weren’t given in the first place and a mistake which put us under a bit of pressure, but I think Rob dealt with that pretty well, he didn’t dwell on that and it was important to get to half time at no worse than 1-0. Sometimes things don’t go your way.

“Second half, every set play or every time somebody goes in their box, they’re actually allowed to grab our players and pull them to the ground, so I wasn’t aware that there was a rule change to be honest with you, but there seems to be a rule change that we aren’t aware of.”

It is well documented that the Robins are scarcely awarded spot kicks, in fact, it is now 428 days since their last.

Russell Martin’s side largely controlled the ball in the first half and could’ve scored another, but Pearson was pleased with how his players played across the 90 minutes.

The Robins’ improved second-half display was no doubt partly because of a change in shape. Kal Naismith moved into midfield as the hosts shifted to a 4-3-3.

“The player’s effort in both halves, I’ve got no complaints in either half,” he said. “But second half we played much better and looked like we would go on and win it once we got the equaliser.

“Good response in the second half, we needed to change it at halftime to give ourselves a chance of not conceding as much possession. The players know how to play 4-3-3 because we’ve done it plenty of times.”

The replay will be played at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday, January 17.