Nottingham Forest were robbed of two points away from home on Tuesday night.

Again.

As Dwight Gayle took to the skies at the Hawthorns, he knew exactly what he was doing.

He had been looking for a touch inside the box but none was forthcoming.

No matter.

One swallow dive later and referee Lee Mason was pointing to the spot.

Jay Rodriguez crashed home the resulting penalty and, having then been denied one of their own at the other end, Forest were left to reflect on what should have been.

Again.

Martin O’Neill could have been forgiven for channelling his inner Roy Keane at the final whistle and throwing his toys out of the pram.

He didn’t.

Disappointed

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Instead, the Reds boss told the Nottingham Post: “The referee just said that he was disappointed; that it was an honest mistake he made. He felt that one of our players connected with him.

“I think it is the most difficult task now in the world, refereeing games. Particularly in the modern game, when we have a number of camera angles to look at – and they have a split second to look at things.

“It seems as if I am standing up for referees here… but Lolley should have had a penalty at the other end as well, which was disappointing.”

Moments after Gayle got the call he was looking for by hitting the deck, Joe Lolley favoured a different approach at the opposite end of the field.

Despite seeing Kieran Gibbs attempt to swap shirts before the final whistle, the Reds winger stayed on his feet and got a shot away.

Opportunity

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

O’Neill added on Mason’s decision not to award Forest a penalty: “In two weeks it will be forgotten, but it is a disappointment for us.

“You are allowed to speak to the referee half an hour after the game, if you want to, and he allowed me that opportunity.

“He did not think the Lolley incident was a penalty, but it was a clear penalty. He was fouled, he was held on to. That was disappointing also. It was a disappointing night, in that sense. But we scored a couple of goals and we played well, when we got the ball down to play it.”

Lolley later said during a discussion regarding the incident on Twitter: “I personally find it very hard/impossible to throw myself down. I’ll go down if the contact forces me down… just the way I’ve always played.”

Such an approach should be applauded.

This is not the first time that Forest have been let down by contentious calls from match officials this season.

Difficult

 

Back in October, Kemar Roofe was somehow allowed to get away with punching the ball into the net to salvage Leeds a 1-1 draw at Elland Road.

After that contest, then Reds boss Aitor Karanka said in the Nottingham Post: “You can imagine how I feel, especially when you have a group of players who have done everything to win,” said Karanka.

“We were lucky because the cameras were here and everybody could see what happened.

“You can imagine how the players were in the changing room, because when you have done everything and you have lost two points, to something that is not in your hands, it is difficult to understand.”

Again, no ranting or raving.

No excuses.

No belittling of the referee or suggestions that he needs to pay a visit to a certain opticians.

A calm, honest assessment of a decision which was difficult to stomach.

O’Neill and Lolley delivered the same on Tuesday and for that the Forest faithful should be proud.

Points are temporary but class is permanent.