Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough delivered a scathing critique of referee Lee Collins’ performance as his team endured another night of frustration as Bramall Lane.
MK Dons midfielder Deli Alli scored the only goal of a spiky contest with three minutes of normal time remaining before the visitors saw Danny Green dismissed for a second bookable offence.
United’s woes were further compounded when it was revealed that Chris O’Grady, their emergency loan signing from Brighton and Hove Albion, had suffered a recurrence of the calf injury which prevented him from facing Notts County four days earlier.
Clough, whose side remain fifth in the League One table, refused to be critical of his players despite seeing them fail to close the seven point gap between themselves and the automatic promotion positions.
But, asked about Collins’ display, the former England international said: “I’m at a complete loss to try and explain the officials.
“There were 22 very honest players out there and also the substitutes.
“But we just don’t understand what was going on with some of the decisions.
“From the first minute to the last.”
Clough added: “Obviously we wanted a different result.
“If you asked us if we’d take that performance at home though, between now and the end of the season, we’d say yes all day long.
“If our ‘keeper had been peppered rom start to finish, we’d hold our hands up. But, whereas others are coming here at the moment and getting the luck, we aren’t being so fortunate.
“However, if we keep persevering, then the luck will start going our way.”
O’Grady’s debut for United lasted just 23 minutes before he was forced to limp-off although Clough said: “It was a precaution more than anything else.
“He felt his calf tighten and so wed though better safe than sorry. Hopefully he’ll be okay.”