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Clarke: It was a 'soft' penalty

17 August 2013

And boss felt his men were worth a draw

STEVE Clarke has described the penalty that sentenced his side to a last-gasp 1-0 defeat by Southampton in today’s season opener as ‘soft’.

The Hawthorns encounter looked to be heading for a stalemate until referee Kevin Friend awarded Saints a spot-kick for a challenge by Youssouf Mulumbu on Luke Shaw.

Man-of-the-moment Rickie Lambert stepped up to coolly convert in the 90th minute and nick all three points for the visitors.

“I thought it was very, very soft,” said Clarke.

“I’ve seen it again several times on video – and I’m still looking for the contact.

“It was clever play from the Southampton player.

“But to make that call at that stage of the game was a big decision to make.”

The Baggies boss was disappointed with his team’s first-half display but felt they improved after the break and deserved a point.

“We were disappointed with our first half,” he added.

“Southampton certainly started much better.

“They were on the front foot from the off and they penned us back.

“But what we did well in the first half was we hung in there, we stayed in the game, we defended resolutely.

“Towards the end of the first half we tinkered with the shape a little bit and it gave us a better feel for the game.

“At half-time we readjusted a couple of things and in the second half I thought we were much better.

“To sum it up, I thought Southampton were better than us in the first half and we had the best of the game in the second half.

“As it petered out into what looked like being a 0-0, if any team looked like nicking it, it would have been us.”

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