Preston North End boss Alex Neil unhappy with 'contentious' late penalty which gave West Bromwich Albion victory at Deepdale

Declan Rudd holds his head after conceding the late penalty which denied Preston a point against West Bromwich Albion at Deepdale
Declan Rudd holds his head after conceding the late penalty which denied Preston a point against West Bromwich Albion at Deepdale

Preston North End manager Alex Neil said defeat against West Bromwich Albion and the manner in which the Baggies' late winner came was tough to take.

Neil's men looked on course to hold out for a 0-0 draw against Slaven Bilic's side at Deepdale when Kyle Edwards went to ground in the box as he took the ball past Nortth End keeper Declan Rudd in the 90th minute.

Preston manager Alex Neil and his assistant Frankie McAvoy on the touchline

Preston manager Alex Neil and his assistant Frankie McAvoy on the touchline

Referee Oliver Langford awarded a penalty but replays showed no contact between the two players. Charlie Austin subsequently sent Rudd the wrong way from the spot.

Neil said: "It is always gutting to concede in the last minute and it really makes it worse that it is a contentious decision.

"If it was a little bit of quality from them which had won the game that would have made it a bit more palatable.

"In the first half we worked hard, defended well but didn't really have any cutting edge at the top end. In the second half that improved.

Charlie Austin scores West Brom's late penalty against Preston at Deepdale

Charlie Austin scores West Brom's late penalty against Preston at Deepdale

"It certainly wasn't a vintage performance from us but we set up in a manner which I thought gave us the best chance of winning the match or certainly getting something from the game.

"We had so many players missing, Paul Gallagher our talisman in the middle who gets us ticking.and playing so we went much more direct, fed off the second balls, got it wide and put it in the box.

"I thought we looked comfortably in the second half, I don't think they had a shot on target.

"Then the penalty decision swings the game and it gives them the points."

Referee Oliver Langford gave a controversial late penalty to West Bromwich Albion against Preston

Referee Oliver Langford gave a controversial late penalty to West Bromwich Albion against Preston

Focusing on the penalty, Neil admitted it had been a heart-in-the-mouth moment.

And he labelled the decision as harsh on his players who had worked so hard.

Neil said: "It was like a car crash happening in slow motion right in front of you and there is nothing you can do about it.

"You are just waiting and thinking 'Please don't blow the whistle and give a penalty'.

"Unfortunately that is what happened.

"I've had a good look at it and it doesn't look like a penalty, no.

"They got two fortunate deflections to get the ball in their path. Jordan Storey didn't get himself turned quick enough and then Declan comes out.

"It is one of those when you don't want him to make a decision, the lad gets his touch, goes down as you would expect for a forward and the penalty is given.

"I'm disappointed for the players, for how hard they worked and how little space and time they gave some good players in the other team, I thought they deserved something from the match."