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Lee Bowyer shuts down talk of Birmingham time-wasting against Stoke

Sheffield United v Birmingham City – Sky Bet Championship – Bramall Lane
(Image credit: Nigel French)

Birmingham head coach Lee Bowyer denied his side were time-wasting and playing for a point after Stoke manager Michael O’Neill was not impressed with the stoppages in the goalless draw.

The majority of Birmingham’s opportunities came from Marc Roberts’ long throw-ins and O’Neill revealed he spoke to referee Gavin Ward regarding the time wasted by the home side.

When questioned if Ward could have done better, O’Neill said: “Yeah he can do better than that. I told him that after the game, I said ‘look, we can’t control it’. We can’t have 30 seconds for every throw-in, that’s where the time goes. Then we had three minutes at the end.

“That’s just the nature of the game and there’s a lot of games in the Championship that ends up like that. If you’re going to get out of the Championship, you have to aspire to be a better team than that and obviously that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Bowyer was questioned about the Northern Irishman’s comments and instantly denied the claim.

He said: “That wasn’t any instruction from me, I wouldn’t say we were time-wasting. I’d say you’ve got a centre-half that’s got to walk or run 40 yards to take a throw-in.

“He can’t keep running there. Because then he’s got to run back, run forward, take the throw and run back. He’s probably just taking a breather. They’re human beings. Tired. The tempo of the game was quick. We wasn’t playing for a point I can assure you.

“If they had someone with a long throw like Robbo (Marc Roberts) then I bet their fella wouldn’t be sprinting up to take it every time because you can’t. He’s tired.”

Both sides remain unbeaten this season after the draw and both managers stated the sharing of the points was the right result.

“We didn’t do enough to win the game,” O’Neill said.

“I didn’t feel like we were ever going to lose it to be honest. We dealt with what we knew we were going to deal with, which was a lot of long throws and balls into the box. We dealt with that very well. We could have played the game better at times.”

Despite his side creating the better of the chances, Bowyer agreed.

Asked whether it was a point gained or two points dropped, the 44-year-old said: “I think it’s a fair result. There wasn’t much in the game.

“Two strong, powerful sides. If you really want to break it down, clear-cut chances, maybe we edged it. But unfortunately, we never took one of those chances. Overall I would say a point is fair.”