Sheffield United: Angry Blades boss Nigel Clough slams match officials after defeat to Chesterfield

Sheffield United's Michael Higdon is given a red card by referee Mark Brown
Sheffield United's Michael Higdon is given a red card by referee Mark Brown
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Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough launched a scathing attack on the match officials following his team’s defeat at Chesterfield.

The former England international demanded an audience with referee Mark Brown and his assistants after a match which saw both teams reduced to 10 men.

Clough, whose centre-forward Michael Higdon was sent-off before being joined in the dressing room by Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee, felt Georg Margreitter should have earlier been dismissed for a foul on Jamie Murphy.

Arguing Eoin Doyle was offside when he netted a decisive third goal for the hosts, Clough also insisted an effort from Higdon was wrongly disallowed when Saturday’s game was still all-square.

“We will mark him (Brown) accordingly,” Clough said. “There’s no zero on the form, unfortunately, so we might wait to see if they will amend it and put one on.

“For the first offside decision, they have a lad on the line from a corner and he gives offside. It’s quite incredible and I’m looking forward to seeing the explanation on that one.

“Also, Jamie Murphy. We just couldn’t believe it was only a yellow. Nobody could.

“I looked over at (Chesterfield manager) Paul Cook and he knew straightaway it was a red.

“It’s not consistency, it’s just being good. It doesn’t excuse Higdon’s tackle but an element of frustration does build up when you feel an injustice has been done.”

“I thought it spoiled a reasonable game,” Clough added. “It shouldn’t have been 10 versus 10. Some of it was self-inflicted though.”

Higdon was dismissed for a poor challenge on Daniel Jones midway through the first-half before Lee departed after felling Ryan Flynn on the edge of the box.

With Jimmy Ryan, Gary Roberts and Doyle firing Chesterfield into a seemingly unassailable advantage, United threatened a comeback when Marc McNulty and Neill Collins converted during the closing stages.

Clough, whose side returns to action in the JP Trophy at Hartlepool tomorrow, confirmed Higdon faces further censure as United contemplate whether to re-enter the emergency loan market.

“I haven’t spoken to him, I just told him he would be fined for the tackle,” Clough said. “But I’m more disappointed with the officials than I am with him.

“It’s about getting the balance between being aggressive, fighting for everything but not giving the referee an opportunity to send you off.

“It will be a fine, miss three games and see if he gets back in the team. He will have to work to get back because I might bring in a striker now.

“Chris Porter will be involved and Marc has got himself another goal so I don’t think

he will get straight back in.”