Blades boss Adkins slams ref after Millwall defeat

Nigel Adkins on the touchline at Boundary Park
Nigel Adkins on the touchline at Boundary Park
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Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins was fiercely critical of referee Andy Haines’ performance during his side’s game against Millwall, insisting the official’s decision-making had contributed towards their 2-1 defeat.

Adkins, admitting he felt compelled to break his rule of never “talking about officials”, claimed both of the visitors’ goals should have been scratched from the scoresheet due to fouls against United players.

Haines also incurred Sheffield Wednesday’s wrath during their draw at QPR last week and Adkins told The Star: “I am quite annoyed. I am choosing my words carefully, because the last thing I want to do is get into trouble. You can’t just sit by all the time and not make a comment though. I don’t talk about referee’s integrity, because that’s so important, and every is allowed to make mistakes. That’s why you will never usually hear me talking about officials. But I was very disappointed with a lot of his decisions, which appeared shall we say, to go against us.”

Although Adkins acknowledged United must shoulder their share of responsibility for a result which leaves them sixth in the League One table, he added: “For example, the challenge on Dean Hammond (by George Saville). He ran in so bravely, all season those have been cautions by the officials. The goals were against the run of play but you can’t legislate for things that go against you at times. I never have a go at officials, and the first person I always look at is myself then the players. We were on the front foot. But what can you do when decisions like that go against you? It’s so frustrating when all you want is consistency. It’s about opinions, everyone makes honest mistakes, but I was very disappointed with some of the decisions.”

United appeared destined to claim at least a point when Jose Baxter cancelled-out Aiden O’Brien’s opener but the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international pounced again during the closing stages.

Adkins said: “I thought in the lead up to Millwall’s first goal were two clear fouls, one’s a foul on Matty Done and another a clear shirt pull on Neill Collins. We were in the ascendancy. Then, lo and behold, eventually the referee gives them one free-kick, and, yes, we are disappointed with the ball we have conceded from but you are thinking ‘wow, we should have been putting a free-kick in their box’.”