Miller 'gobsmacked' by penalty decision

Newcastle Jets coach Scott Miller admitted he was left frustrated by the penalty decision that saw Western Sydney draw level with his side at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Having taken the lead through Enver Alivodic, the Jets were on the receiving end of what looked to be a soft penalty when Milos Trifunovic was judged to have pulled down Brendon Santalab in the box.

While acknowledging there was some contention about his side’s opener, the Jets coach was stunned the critical call went against his side.

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“I’ll review the game this evening but I actually thought at the time the referee was calling for simulation and we were getting the free-kick,” Miller said post-match.

“So that gives you an idea of my mind-set, I thought he was actually pointing the other direction.

“To turn around and actually look at my bench and to then be gobsmacked with the decision going the other way was disbelief.”

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While goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was outstanding for the home side, bailing out the Jets with several top notch saves, he’ll feel he should’ve been able to keep out Mitch Nichols’ long-range winner.

When quizzed about his thoughts on the shot that settled the contest, Miller was laying no blame at the feet of his fearless goalkeeper.

“Mark’s an outstanding goalkeeper and will continue to be so,” Miller said.

“I’m looking at the source more than the goalkeeper’s situation.

“I’m looking at no pressure on the ball and that’s the impact of the ball not Mark’s inability to save it whatsoever.”

With both sides struggling to find an opener, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was able to call on the likes of Mark Bridge, Brendon Santalab and Romeo Castelen in the second-half as they chased the game.

Miller didn’t make any attacking substitutions of his own but refuted suggestions it’s because his squad lacks depth.

“It was my choice not to use the substitutes to that extent today because I wanted to put pressure on the four that were out there,” Miller said.

“They’ve got a responsibility and a job and I’m not going to give them an easy wrap of coming off with 10-15 to go.

“I wanted to see if they can execute and win the game for us.”