Ferguson furious after penalty denied

Ian Ferguson slammed the referees' inconsistent interpretation of the handball rule after his side were denied a clear penalty in the loss to Sydney FC.

Upset Perth coach Ian Ferguson slammed the referees' inconsistent interpretation of the handball rule after his side were denied a clear penalty in the narrow loss to Sydney FC on Sunday.

With the Glory trailing 2-1 late in the second half, substitute Nick Ward's header appeared to strike the outstretched arm of Sky Blues defender Rhyan Grant in the box.

Despite furious protests from the Glory players, referee Peter Green allowed play to continue, with the home side holding on for a come-from-behind win in the first Hyundai A-League match at ANZ Stadium.

While admitting his side let Sydney back into the match after a dominant first half, Ferguson felt his side were denied a chance to claim a draw due to the inconsistency of the referees.

"I would like to get it clarified actually. What is a penalty?" a disappointed Ferguson said afterwards.

"I've seen it so many times where the player raises his hands and it hits his hands ... sometimes a penalty is given and sometimes it's not given.

"Today for us, his (Grant's) hand leaves his side so to me it's a penalty.

"He's stopping a cross so it's a stonewaller.

"But the referee said it's accidental so he didn't give it."

Sydney coach Ian Crook was delighted his side made it back-to-back wins but had some sympathy for his opposite number.

"If I was sitting here now as Fergie I'd be saying it was a penalty and I couldn't disagree with him," the Sky Blues boss said.

"I didn't think he (Grant) deliberately handballed it but the rule says if you jump with your arms away from your body and the ball hits you it's a pen.

"I couldn't argue with that."

The penalty drama aside, the Glory will be left to rue a game that got away after they controlled the opening 45 minutes with Travis Dodd's goal giving them a 1-0 lead at the break.

But the game changed 12 minutes after the break when defender Steve Pantelidis was shown a straight red card for bringing Brett Emerton down in the box.

Alessandro Del Piero, playing his 800th professional match, levelled from the spot, before Emerton's classy chip 20 minutes from the end settled the issue.

"When you're on top like we were, we need to punish teams more," Ferguson said.

"I thought we played reasonably well today in the first half, passed the ball around well ... but sometimes 1-0 is not enough.

"But the way that we lost the goals ... we've got to be a lot smarter with the way we control games and be a little more ruthless at times."