Alan Biggs at Large: Inconsistent refs do themselves no favours, while sacking of Rob Edwards further highlights a worrying trend in football

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In the first half at Bramall Lane last Saturday, Leyton Orient skipper Nathan Clarke went hurtling into a midfield challenge that marginally took the ball and damn near wiped out the man.

Referee Andy Haines had a clear view from no more than five yards away and gave nothing.

I was sitting next to The Star’s Blades reporter James Shield.

Instinctively we looked at each other and winced.

James made the point that it was little different from the challenge for which Sheffield United’s Michael Higdon was sent off (correctly) at Chesterfield the previous week.

I mention not to excuse another dropping of points - 2-2 was a ridiculous outcome considering the Blades’ second half dominance - but to highlight an inconsistency that rightly concerns managers, whether it be Nigel Clough or anyone else. Clarke later made two cautionable challenges but went in the book for only one - having earlier been spared that potential straight red for dangerous play.

United ought to have had a man advantage long before Jobi McAnuff’s dismissal.

But there is no inconsistency in another problem area of our game.

The dismissal of Tranmere boss Rob Edwards, following the departure of former Sheffield Wednesday stalwart Nigel Worthington at York, meant there have been 17 managerial changes in the Football League this season compared to four at this time last year.

Utter madness.