Alan Irvine admits penalty award 'soft' in West Brom's 2-2 draw with Sunderland
Last Updated: 16/08/14 7:18pm
West Brom boss Alan Irvine admitted his side may have got lucky with a controversial penalty awarded in their 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
The Black Cats saw their early lead cancelled out in their Barclays Premier League opener at The Hawthorns as Valentin Roberge was adjudged to have brought down Victor Anichebe.
Replays suggested just the slightest of shirt pulls but Saido Berahino made no mistake from the spot and later grabbed a second to leave Sunderland needing a late Sebastian Larsson equaliser to earn a point.
Sunderland had initially taken the lead with a superb Lee Cattermole strike but West Brom were forcing themselves back into contention when referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to spot.
Irvine said: "It was soft. I didn't immediately jump up saying it was a penalty. Had he not given it I probably wouldn't have made too much of it either."
Irvine, however, did feel Sunderland had their share of luck on occasions.
Early in the second half West Brom appeared to force the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble but a flag had been raised for a foul on goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Irvine said: "I think that is open to interpretation as well, a bit like the penalty was.
"We also conceded a free-kick which led to the build-up to the second goal which, again, is open to interpretation.
"But the referee has to make a decision. He has done that and I am sure some people will feel he has made the right decisions and some will feel he has made the wrong ones. It is a hard job."
Irvine, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Preston manager who was a surprise choice to succeed Pepe Mel, admitted to mixed feelings about the result and performance.
He said: "I felt there were a lot of good things. Last year I'm told we didn't come back from going behind so that was really pleasing. It was a great response by the lads.
"It was a magnificent strike and it could have been very challenging for the players.
"I felt we controlled the first half, very much dominating and had a lot of momentum.
"I don't think we played as well second half. I didn't think we passed the ball as well and gave it away a little bit too cheaply at times.
"I hoped and expected us to stay in front and was disappointed with the nature of the goal and the fact we did concede it."