Rotherham manager Steve Evans described the sending-off of Jordan Bowery just four minutes and 18 seconds after coming on as a substitute during the 3-0 defeat by Middlesbrough as “an absolutely shocking, awful, woeful, disgraceful, abject decision”.
Victory sent Aitor Karanka’s side second in the Sky Bet Championship after they dominated the game at New York Stadium.
Patrick Bamford, on loan from Chelsea, opened the scoring with a precise shot in the eighth minute with Yanick Wildschut doubling the lead 11 minutes later after jinking inside the Millers defence and placing a superb shot into the top corner.
Lee Tomlin rounded off the scoring three minutes from time after dancing his way through the box and sending a low shot past Adam Collin into the bottom left-hand corner.
While Evans did not argue with Boro’s victory, heaping praise on the quality of their performance, he had no hesitation at pointing the finger following Bowery’s red card.
The Millers were already 2-0 down when top scorer Alex Revell was forced to go off after taking a boot to the chin with Bowery the man to replace him as the hosts sought a way back into the game.
However, less than five minutes later he was off after getting a straight red card for kicking out at George Friend.
Evans did not pull any punches saying: “Are we going to go away remembering the game and the quality of the Middlesbrough team? I said before the game they are a quality side.
“We go away remembering an absolutely shocking, awful, woeful, disgraceful, abject decision to send Jordan Bowery off.
“There are no other words I can use for it. We’ve looked back at it and I would not apportion blame to the match referee if he is told that someone has kicked out by an assistant, he should go off.
“But that assistant is known to us as a management team: we have to ask first and foremost why he is appointed and when he was appointed we feared what would happen and it’s happened today.
“There is not even a case for a yellow card. You look at reaction from players and reaction from the Boro bench - they are a real professional outfit - and one or two of their players and staff apologised to me in the tunnel at half time about the sending off so they know. That has been a wrongful decision.
“We have to let the authorities look at that when we appeal on Monday and see where it goes.”
Of the Millers’ upcoming game against Reading in midweek, he added: “We were beaten by a good team and we dust ourselves down and come back fighting.
“They’ll be tired. They have put more energy than you would normally put in because you are playing with 10.
“I feel for Jordan Bowery because he could become a scapegoat but I’ve always been a manager who looks at the DVD and looks at the evidence.
“When I go in and ask the referee - of course all officials hide behind they’ve not seen it and surely the time comes when people have to explain their decisions.”
Karanka did not attach such importance to the sending-off, saying: “I think when this happened we were winning 2-0 and I don’t think it is a very big important thing.”
He did though heap praise on Wildschut who was making his first start.
“He kept working very well because all the players understand the philosophy,” he said.
“He scored the goal, crossed very well worked very well and this is the way and I think he is going home happy today.”
For the Spaniard, the victory was one of the most treasured so far this season.
“I am very pleased with the performance because everybody knew how difficult it was going to be this game here, how difficult it is to beat this team in this stadium,” he added.
“I am very pleased because they performed very well and our attitude was very good.”