Eltringham did send off Norwich key man, Emiliano Buendia – who had already set up one and scored another – for two cautions but Stoke fans were left debating other big decisions, not least what would have been a late equaliser chalked off.
We can go through three incidents in review.
Should Stoke have had a penalty?
In the 43rd minute, there was surprise when Grant Hanley reached over and hauled Danny Batth to the ground by his face as they tried to get on the end of a free-kick from Tommy Smith – but no free-kick was given.
It obviously should have been a foul but the incident also clearly took place just outside the penalty area.
Was Teemu Pukki’s second goal offside?
The arms went up from Stoke defenders in the 57th minute when Teemu Pukki ran into space and onto Josh Martin’s through ball to make it 3-0.
John Obi Mikel hadn’t been able to keep possession just inside the Norwich half, Sam Clucas couldn’t win it back and Martin slid the ball into the final third for Pukki to round Joe Bursik and roll in his second of the night.
Pukki was onside when the pass was played, kept on by Harry Souttar.
Why was Stoke ‘equaliser’ disallowed?
The hardest call to swallow.
Stoke had come back from 3-0 down to 3-2 and were gung-ho in search of a leveller against 10 men, to the extent that it’s been pointed out that Norwich completed 128 passes in the first 20 minutes but only five in the last 20 minutes.
Sam Clucas whipped in an inswinging corner and, first of all, some appreciation is due for Nick Powell’s incredible leap to get his head on the ball.
But then what happened?
Powell’s header went high, very high, and sub keeper Michael McGovern and defender Christoph Zimmermann and Stoke striker Lee Gregory were positioning themselves for it to come down like fielders looking for a catch.
Zimmermann keeps hold of Gregory, who reads the drop to knock it over the line.
McGovern is second to that position and Gregory is in his way as he tries to clamber to the bounce. Zimmermann’s only interest is in holding Gregory.
Did referee Eltringham think that Gregory should have just stood out of McGovern’s way?
It will irk Stoke particularly considering the barge that Watford got away with on Angus Gunn only a couple of weeks ago.
In diplomatic terms, it was a soft call. In real terms, it was a bad call. In a division as tight as the Championship, it could prove a costly call.
What did Michael O’Neill say?
The Stoke manager said at full time: “The sending off gave us a bit of a life line. We had to capitalise on that, which we did but ultimately we just couldn’t find a third goal. By all accounts, the goal that was disallowed was… rather soft.”
He added: “Look, we didn’t lose the game because of the referee but it wasn’t a brilliant performance from him. It was a difficult game to referee but I thought some of the decisions were… certainly not in our favour.
“We will look at the game back and the most important thing we can take from it is that we have to be better in the opening part.
“We have to give credit to the opposition. I thought they were the best team we’ve played and they also have the best striker in the league, I think, in Pukki. He showed that tonight with the quality of his movement and the quality of his finishing.”
What did Daniel Farke say?
Buendia was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession; the first was when he was too late into a challenge with Danny Batth, the second stretching late for a ball and kicking Nick Powell in the face.
Farke said: “We have to accept his emotions got the better of him. He is sometimes a bit naive. I thought he was the player of the match until that point. To score and then the assist for Teemu but also his workload and his counter-pressing.
“For me by far the best player on the pitch. Then he was involved in a 50/50 tackle, and the referee decided to give a foul against him and a yellow card. He should accept this and then calm down a little bit and be more careful in the next duels.
“He was greedy to win the ball back and he had his foot too high and didn’t realise the opponent was coming. Of course you give the referee a decision to make then. It was naive.
“He has already apologised to the group in the dressing room that he made our lives difficult.
“It is part of his development. He is a young player. There was no bad intention. He was punished by not finishing this game and missing the next one. That is enough. Unlucky for him and us because he was in red hot form.”