By HARRISON SMITH

TONY Pulis was not amused with referee Geoff Eltringham’s big penalty decisions that led to Middlesbrough losing in dramatic fashion at the Riverside Stadium.

Fulham were awarded a spot-kick in the fifth minute of added time after Grant Leadbitter had been adjudged to have tripped Oliver Norwood in the box. Norwood then converted. 

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That came after Middlesbrough had had their own shouts for a penalty turned down when Martin Braithwaite appeared to have been shoved to the floor by Boro old boy Tomas Kalas.

Pulis, clearly annoyed afterwards, was also disappointed with the number of chances Middlesbrough missed. Rudy Gestede, Braithwaite and Britt Assombalonga, who hit the bar seconds before the winner, were all guilty. 

Pulis said: “We didn’t play as well in the second-half but looking at the Braithwaite penalty, it is a really disappointing decision. We understand and recognise referees will make mistakes but when they affect matches they should be called into question.

“It has happened to me loads of times but the disappointing thing is they get a penalty at the other end which was harder to call but he blew straight away, he probably has his reasons why.

“I am not sure who is in charge of Championship referees but you would love to ask the referee why he didn’t give it.”

Pulis did sympathise with the challenges faced by referees in the modern game outlining that it is difficult to get these decisions right with the modern fad of players' legs buckling without being challenged.

He said: “The player falls before Grant touches him. The big thing in the game nowadays is when legs tend to buckle without any challenge being made, which is difficult for referees to get right.”

Pulis admitted the blame can’t all be laid at referee Eltringham’s feet as Boro did have several good chances to put the game to bed.

He added: “Our players have made mistakes and missed opportunities you would expect them to put away so it is not all down to the referee.”

The end result disappointed Pulis who outlined his disappointment in losing in such a manner when for the most part Middlesbrough were the superior team.

Pulis said: “I am disappointed because I thought we were the better team, especially in the first-half when we had three or four chances and Fulham didn’t do anything to hurt us. We were the dominant force.”

“The biggest disappointment is for the chances we created, you would expect the players we have in the team to take those chances. If we had scored the first goal, I think we would have won it comfortably.”