DANNY Rose says he was staggered by the stoppage time booking he received at Goodison Park after being accused of diving.
The Sunderland left-back, back in the side after being left on the bench seven days earlier against Aston Villa, was sandwiched by two Everton players in the dying stages of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat, and looked to have won a clear free-kick.
But referee Lee Mason adjudged Rose to have gone down too easily, and then showed the on-loan Tottenham defender a yellow card when he protested about the decision.
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill slammed Mason’s decision as “extraordinary” and Rose echoed the criticism of his manager.
Rose said: “You can’t give stick to the ref, but I thought he made some poor decisions.
“To get a booking for being obstructed, was comical really.”
The yellow card capped a heartbreaking finale for Sunderland after two goals inside two minutes denied Martin O’Neill’s side what would have been a first away Premier League victory since August.
But Rose is eager for Sunderland to take the positives into next Sunday’s trip to Fulham – where he knows the Black Cats need to put some points on the board after taking just two from their last five top flight outings.
“It was a really dispiriting defeat after going ahead,” said Rose.
“We defended great first half, and the fans were turning on them.
“We had three or four great chances in the first half to put it to bed, and not taking them cost us. You’re always vulnerable after a goal’s been scored.
“It is the best we’ve played since I’ve been here, and hopefully we can take it into next Sunday against Fulham.
“Sessy (Stephane Sessegnon) caused them a lot of problems in the first half, and we just defended well.
“Johnno (Adam Johnson) was great as well, and he got his goal which I’m happy for. It’s just a shame we didn’t get three points.
“But playing well, and getting nothing from the game is no good to anybody.
“We need three points and the next game is vital now.”