There are times when saying sorry just isn’t enough.
Rotherham United boss Steve Evans reckons he has heard enough apologies this season after mistakes from officials which have cost his team dear in Championship matches.
And his frustation was further fuelled on Tuesday night when his side slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers after referee Geoff Eltringham failed to award the Millers a penalty when Conor Newton’s shot struck substitute right-back Alex Baptiste’s arm.
“I don’t think there’s any reason in the 33rd minute why the referee doesn’t give a penalty. It’s a blatant handball,” he blasted.
“At the time I thought it was a penalty and so did all the bench and all of my players. I’ve looked at it again. It’s just an unnatural position (from Baptiste). It’s hand to ball. It’s a penalty every day of the week.”
The Millers manager believes Eltringham’s ruling was the latest in a series of injustices his side have suffered and says Football League head of referees David Allinson has been a regular caller this season.
“Tonight if that happens (at the other end) then maybe the referee gives it,” Evans said. “I’m not questioning the referee’s integrity. But I keep hearing from David Allinson, and it’s ‘Ah, we’ve got it wrong. Apologies for Charlton’. I keep hearing earlier in the season ‘Apologies, we got it wrong’. How many are they going to get wrong?”
The Charlton incident Evans was referring to was a second-half handball at The Valley by Andre Bikey which went unpunished 12 days ago. Other controversies include Matt Derbyshire having a goal disallowed for offside in the same match, Jordan Bowery being wrongly sent off against Middlesbrough and strong spot-kick appeals falling on deaf ears early in the season at Ipswich and at home to the Addicks.
Tuesday’s events prompted Evans to claim that in some official quarters Rotherham aren’t welcome in the second tier after winning two successive promotions.
Stressing it was just a personal view, he said: “Some people in the Football League possibly don’t want us in the Championship. But we’re going to try to fight to be here. Just look at some of the decisions. People say they level out. If they level out, we’ve got a lot of decisions to get, haven’t we?
“We’ve been here since August and I just look at a lot of the decisions. I’m dismayed. But what can you do? You can only get your head down and work hard.”
Right-back Frazer Richardson who suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder against Blackburn was having the injury x-rayed yesterday.