Steve Bruce: Aston Villa defender James Chester committed 'cardinal sin' in draw
Steve Bruce criticised skipper James Chester for committing a “cardinal sin” after Villa were denied victory by a last-gasp Reading penalty.
Sam Baldock smashed home from the spot in the third minute of stoppage time to earn the visiting Royals a 1-1 draw at Villa Park, after Chester was controversially adjudged to have fouled Josh Sims.
Referee Darren England was booed off at the final whistle having pointed to the spot, despite Chester appearing to cleanly win the ball.
Bruce reserved his post-match criticism for the captain - and claimed England had got the decision right.
He said: “Chessie knows he doesn’t have to let the referee make a decision. There is no need to go to ground. It is a cardinal sin.
“I have had Chessie for the best part of six years now and I have never seen him do anything like that.
“Usually he stays on his feet as long as anybody. You can’t give the referee that temptation. He didn’t have to go to ground.”
Bruce added: “It would be very easy for me to come out and say I didn’t think it was (a penalty). I don’t think Chessie, when he looked back on it, should have let the referee make the decision.”
Ahmed Elmohamady earlier looked to have put Villa firmly on course for a third win of the campaign when he nodded them in front six minutes into the second half.
Goalkeeper Orjan Nyland looked to have preserved the points when he produced a brilliant double save to deny Baldock and Yakou Meite.
But Villa’s failure to take their chances ultimately cost them when Baldock struck late.
The result still moved Bruce’s men up a spot to fourth in the table, yet they are now four points behind leaders Leeds.
“We should have been in front and away but we weren’t,” said Bruce. “When it gets to 1-0 in the last five to ten minutes there is always that bit of anxiety.
“Unfortunately, as I say, we have made a mistake and got punished. Everyone is disappointed.”