Alan's Incensed

ALAN Pardew admitted that he could not believe the last minute penalty decision that robbed his side of all three points against Leeds United at Upton Park.

With the Hammers 1-0 up and defending well, David Healey charged into the box and went down somewhat theatrically under an innocuous challenge from Steve Lomas.

But referee Mike Pike pointed to the spot and Healey stepped up to beat Stephen Bywater and earn Leeds a shock 1-1 draw. Some argued after the game that the last minute penalty decision against West Ham was deserved because of an earlier, more legitimate spot-kick claim, against Darren Powell went unpunished. But that view is certainly not shared by Pards.

"We were incensed with the penalty decision," he said. "It was an obvious dive, there was barely contact between Healey and Steve Lomas, and we're extremely disappointed that the referee gave a penalty.

"Leeds did have a claim before that - a handball shout against Darren Powell - which wasn't given, but if the referee thought it was a penalty then why didn't he give it?

"There is no way that previous incidents should reflect on a referee's decision. It's either a penalty or its not - and the one he gave was definitely not a penalty."

Of his side's overall performance, Pards admitted that his Hammers should have killed off Leeds in the second-half, having overcome the visitors' impressive first-half display to take the lead through Luke Chadwick.

"I was very impressed with the way we turned the game around in the second-half," explained Alan. "You can only play was well as you are allowed to, and in the first-half Leeds did very well to disrupt our football.

"Sergei Rebrov was a victim of our own performance, because Sergei needs to play in a side that is passing the ball well. We weren't doing that in the first-half.

 "Teddy Sheringham came on in the second-half to give us some more presence up front, we scored the goal, and then began to dominate the game.

"We should have pushed on to score a second, but even though it was disappointing not to finish Leeds off, I still thought that we were defending very solidly in the final stages of the game.

"When your lead is only one goal it always puts you on a knife edge. We should have scored more and then there would have been less cause to worry about a debatable penalty decision.

"However, that doesn't hide our disappointment. At 1-0 the team that's behind can always see a way back. That invites pressure and makes teams do desperate things. It was a desperate dive, their last chance to get something out of the game, and it has cost us all three points."