Penalty Tough To Take For Pards

ALAN Pardew admitted that the 55th minute penalty awarded for handball against Tomas Repka at Ewood Park changed the course of Hammers clash with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

West Ham had been leading up to that point thanks to Bobby Zamora's strike late in the first-half. But the dubious penalty decision swung the game back to the home side, who went on to win 3-2.

Pards believed the penalty was 'soft' and said: "The penalty decision changed the game. I thought we were going to win it up until the point when the referee gave a dubious decision.

"I thought it was a soft penalty in terms of a handball. It's crucial moments like those that decide games. There is no way Tomas intentionally handled the ball.

"It was disappointing and the decision was tough to take. I didn't think we had played so well in the first-half, although we took the lead through a very good finish from Bobby.

"Their first goal was crucial and the game really hinged on that moment. But once again I couldn't fault the effort of the players in what was a tough game."

Pards also had to suffer the loss of central defender Danny Gabbidon with a badly gashed leg after the clattered into the advertising boards behind the touch line. The Wales international now looks set to miss the trip to Everton on Wednesday.

"Losing Gabbs was definitely a blow," admitted Pards, "but these things happen. He had about five or six stitches in a badly gashed leg and it will be hard for him to play with that kind of injury.

"It certainly didn't help our cause although Christian came on in very difficult circumstances. We were disappointed with the goals that we conceded but we kept competing right to the end and showed a lot of effort out there.

Having to change things around at the back did unsettle us a little bit and I think that perhaps showed because there were a couple of moments in defence where we let ourselves down after that.

"We picked up a few bookings that were petty and I don't think it helped the atmosphere of the game. But now we have to move onto the game against Everton and really look to put in a strong performance up there.

"This is a demanding sequence of games but we have to cope with that and we'll be going into the Everton game positive again that we can take something from the match."