Belfast Telegraph

Hodgson leaps to Morrison's defence

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson has defended James Morrison after an apparent gesture made by the midfielder in a 2-1 victory at Stoke.

Morrison struck the opener in the 35th minute at the Britannia Stadium with a 30-yarder that left Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen red-faced. The Scotland international then wheeled away in celebration towards the Stoke fans in the Seddon Stand, initially with his arms outstretched.

However, perhaps reacting to a comment, Morrison then quickly placed his left hand on his right upper arm and delivered a fist-pump gesture. When asked about the incident after the game, Hodgson said: "Did he do that? Blimey. You guys (the media) see everything. That gesture could be interpreted in a thousand ways."

He added: "In the Barclays Premier League there is so much good you can talk about, so many interesting things to say and do, so to start looking for imaginary gestures, for me that saddens me.

"I hope he didn't do a gesture. If he did, I'm sure he'll apologise for it. But he's not that type of guy. I guess it was just a way of showing a celebration, but I didn't see it, and what's more I don't want to."

After Ben Foster saved a 71st-minute penalty from Jonathan Walters, Stoke's second-half substitutes Jermaine Pennant and Cameron Jerome combined for the latter to equalise four minutes from time. But Graeme Dorrans ended a near year-long goal drought by curling home a low 25-yard free-kick in the first minute of injury time.

After one defeat in the previous 10 league matches, Stoke manager Tony Pulis claimed his side came out "flat" for this encounter.

"In the second half we stepped it up a little bit, but the penalty miss is a disappointment," said Pulis. "I really want to see the two goals conceded because I thought they were desperately disappointing.

"I was as disappointed with the second because anything that is played that side (to Sorensen's left) should be the goalkeeper's.

"If it beats him over the wall, fine, but if it beats you that side...It just wasn't our day."


From Belfast Telegraph