Lee Johnson hit out at the 'bad refereeing' he felt cost Sunderland two points at Fleetwood.

The Black Cats let a two-goal lead slip in the final ten minutes, with an injury-time penalty decision in the hosts' favour infuriating Johnson.

Sunderland had taken command through Ross Stewart's first-half header, and then Aiden McGeady's penalty - awarded for a shirtpull on Luke O'Nien - 15 minutes from the end.

But Callum Morton pulled a goal back nine minutes from time, and then in the sixth minute of added time Bailey Wright was penalised for a shirtpull on Morton, with Ged Garner converting.

And Johnson was unhappy with referee Neil Hair's late decision.

"I just think it's bad refereeing," said Johnson, whose side were knocked off top spot in League One by Wigan Athletic on goal difference.

"I just think that he couldn't wait to give it.

"He's obviously given the foul at the other end, but they were very different.

"One was a bear hug where he [the Fleetwood defender] was facing away from the ball, and in the other one, they're both facing the ball, both facing the goal, and there is contact in boxes.

"I'll look at his [Hair's] next six games, and every time there's a corner and somebody blocks someone or every time there's half an inch of a shirt pull, he'd better give it.

"That's the precedent he's set himself.

"If we're talking a level ten is a clothesline, the level of contact there is 0.5. It happens at every cross, every corner.

"All we have the power to do is downgrade on the [referee's] marks, and hopefully they learn from it."

While the penalty was the obvious focus of Johnson anger, he also pointed to the poor defending for Fleetwood's first goal which gave the Lancashire side a route back into the game.

He said: "I've said it before, but you've got to score three goals, because the opposition are good enough to produce a bit of magic and you've got to be aware that you can give up a goal every game from bad refereeing decisions.

Ged Garner of Fleetwood scores the second goal from the penalty spot
Ged Garner of Fleetwood scores the second goal from the penalty spot

"That was the message at the start of the game, at half time and at the end of the game.

It's difficult to take because we've put our bodies on the line and scored two good goals, but it is what it is.

"The first goal we conceded was a poor one, from our perspective.

"We made a couple of mistakes and we had a couple of warnings with those in to out runs that they'd made.

"We've left a slot and they've capitalised.

"That one was really disappointing because at that point we'd probably demoralised them enough to go and have control.

"If anything, that's the bit I'm angry about.

"It's something we work on, on a regular basis, that's why it's disappointing.

"It's defensive principles that first goal."

Sunderland's man of the match was new goalkeeper Thorben Hoffmann who, after a shaky debut last weekend, reacted by making a string of saves to keep Fleetwood at bay and he could not be faulted for either goal that he conceded.

Johnson said: "I thought he was very good, both with his feet in terms of picking out the spare player and also with two or three big saves and two or three big contacts from crosses.

"The lad here [James Hill] throws it an absolute mile, and it's worth 12 or 15 box entries to them.

"We had to defend it like we did, but in the end, we've just fallen short by 30 seconds and a bad decision."