“Incompetent” - Sunderland boss makes ref admission claim after Sheffield United defeat

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Sunderland boss left raging after Blades’ winner was allowed to stand despite offside calls

Tony Mowbray, the Sunderland boss, slammed "incompetent" refereeing after his side lost 2-1 at home to Sheffield United this evening, claiming the officials admitted they had made an error in allowing the Blades' winning goal to stand.

United came from behind to go six points clear of third-placed Middlesbrough in the race for the Premier League, with goals from James McAtee and Tommy Doyle in either half.

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There was an element of controversy over Doyle's winner, a direct free-kick which came through a crowd of players before nestling in the Sunderland net. Replays showed three Blades players offside when the ball was struck and although none got a touch on the ball, Mowbray felt Sander Berge in particular was in goalkeeper Anthony Patterson's eyeline.

"I thought we played against a good team," Mowbray admitted. "In the first half particularly, we found it hard to match them.

"They showed their experience, they sensed an opportunity with Boro dropping points last night and they showed their quality and experience.

"We scored a really good goal, the timing of their goal was damaging just before half time and I think in the second half we matched them much better. We were good second half and it would be great if the linesman came in here and said why he allowed that goal to stand.

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"There's three men offside, one goes to try and put the ball in and it bounces in. One of my staff has come out of the office and the referee apologised and said he got it wrong, which doesn't mean much to us.

"If you know anything about football, it's offside. It's not in doubt. Between the two of them, they got it badly wrong, which cost us some points tonight. But never mind."

Mowbray admitted he had "a bit of a go" at his players at half-time in a bid to inspire a better second-half display.

"I've been in football since I left school about 43 years ago and offside is offside," he added. "I don't have any grey areas. Is it right an offside was allowed because a referee was incompetent or the linesman's communication was poor? We suffered the consequences."

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