Gary Rowett insisted Stoke should have had a late penalty and questioned referee Roger East’s decision to send him off in the closing stages of a 1-0 defeat to his former club Birmingham.
Che Adams struck a late winner for the visitors as Rowett was beaten by his former side for the first time since his departure as Blues boss in 2016.
However, the Potters should have had a chance to rescue a point after Adams kept Joe Allen’s goalbound effort out with his hands in the closing stages – with Rowett sent off by East for protesting the decision and escorted down the tunnel by stewards.
Rowett said: “The player puts both hands out to the side; OK he doesn’t move them towards the ball, but when you’re two yards away, you’re purposely putting your hands out to block the ball.
“It hits his hands – it’s a blatant penalty no matter how many times you watch it.
“They’ve got away with it, it’s disappointing for us.”
Rowett also questioned whether referees should have the power to dismiss managers, claiming East’s decision potentially incited the 28,160 crowd at the bet365 Stadium – Stoke’s highest attendance in the second tier for 56 years.
“If I’ve been abusive or sworn at the referee I’m honest enough to say that I’ve done that but I didn’t do that,” Rowett added.
“I said to the ref ‘that’s two handballs, that’s two penalties’, he’s sent me off. He told me that I’ve said something completely different.
“It’ll be my word against the referee and of course they’re going to take the referee’s side of it.
“What I think we’ve done is given the officials extra power to brandish a card at the manager in front of a whole stadium – for me that incites the game more than a manager trying to articulate he doesn’t agree.”
Chances were few and far between during a tepid first half, with Blues defender Michael Morrison heading high and wide from a Jota free-kick after 15 minutes and Kristian Pedersen almost steering Cuco Martina’s low cross into his own net.
Tom Ince produced a fine bit of skill in the 64th minute to reach the byline, but Allen blazed his cut-back over the bar.
Full-back Maxime Colin came close to giving Birmingham the lead when he drifted in from the right flank and rattled the underside of the crossbar with his 66th-minute effort, with Lukas Jutkiewicz off-target with an overhead effort from the rebound.
Birmingham went ahead nine minutes from time as Adams slid in at the back post to convert Jutkiewicz’s low cross before the late incident with Adams.
Blues boss Garry Monk said he had not seen the penalty incident, but felt his side deserved their break after a disciplined display.
“It was a performance full of heart, pure spirit, good organisation and when we got out moment we were clinical,” he said. “We got what we feel we deserved.”
On his side’s moment of fortune, Monk added: “Considering we hit the crossbar again today we’ve hit the woodwork 12 times – we’ve had quite a few things go against us.”