Justin Edinburgh, the Gillingham manager, complained his team had been denied a clear-cut penalty during Saturday’s goalless draw at Bramall Lane.
Edinburgh, whose side were placed under severe pressure by Sheffield United as Che Adams, Billy Sharp and Paul Coutts all went close, insisted the officials failed to spot Jay McEveley handling Luke Norris’ shot on the line after Andrew Crofts was tripped on the edge of the box.
“It was certainly a blatant handball on the line, arm to ball. He (the referee) and his linesman quite clearly saw it,” Edinburgh said.
“The linesman was quick enough to stop him giving us the first one and then I don’t know why he hasn’t got involved in the second, but these things go against you sometimes.”
Edinburgh, whose reading of the incident was later disputed by McEveley, conceded Rob Lewis had correctly interpreted events leading-up to Crofts’ earlier appeal, adding: “I reviewed that and the first contact was just outside the box. He carries on and goes down. That one is fine. But it was a blatant handball. The guy has handled it on the line and it’s a penalty and a sending-off.”
United dominated long spells of a match former Tottenham Hotspur Edinburgh defender described as a “competitive encounter” between two clubs “going at it in the right manner”, while Nigel Adkins, the hosts’ manager, also expressed reservations about Lewis’ performance.
“There was a shout from Ryan (Flynn) for a penalty before half-time, although the goalkeeper might have got a touch on the ball,” he said.
“But the one which got me was a free-kick from Paul Coutts which put Billy Sharp clean through. Then the play got called back to book one of their players. So it was our good play that got punished.”