Why Blackpool boss was unhappy with referee's display after 3-3 draw at Sheffield United

Blackpool boss Michael Appleton admitted his side needed a "strong referee" after criticising some of the decisions made by official David Webb in their topsy-turvy 3-3 draw at Sheffield United yesterday afternoon.
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Webb brandished four red cards - two during the game and two after the final whistle - as Appleton's men were reduced to nine men at full-time, with Blackpool's Shayne Lavery and United goalkeeper Wes Foderingham seeing red after the game following an on-pitch melee.

Appleton, whose side had earlier battled back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, was insistent that Ollie Norwood’s equaliser shouldn’t have stood, with Oli McBurnie appearing to foul goalkeeper Chris Maxwell and then Appleton feeling a number of Blades players, in offside positions, blocked Maxwell’s view as Norwood’s shot came in.

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“There’s a lot of emotion,” Appleton said. “I suppose the overriding one is frustration. There was a lot of good play from both sides today, some good goals and not-so-good goals on our behalf. But overall it's very difficult to be too disappointed at the fact that we went toe to toe with them.

“When it goes to nine men it's a lottery, you have to defend for your lives and hope your goalkeeper has a good game. Which he did. And hopefully have a strong referee.”

On the red cards for his side, Marvin Ekpiteta and Dominic Thompson both picking up second yellows, Appleton added: “I understand the first one. It's a little bit soft, but I get it. I'm not sure it'd have happened at the other end, but I get it.

Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United, and Blackpool boss Michael Appleton after a post-match brawl at Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis / SportimagePaul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United, and Blackpool boss Michael Appleton after a post-match brawl at Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United, and Blackpool boss Michael Appleton after a post-match brawl at Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“The second one was a bit of stupidity from one of my young players, who'll be a better person and player from the experience.

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“It was a foul, yeah [on Maxwell for Norwood’s goal]. It was a foul. Those things can be missed, you can forgive that to a degree but three players were also offside when Norwood hits the shot.

“They were clearly in front of Chris when the shot was taken, clearly offside. They're the little bits under those circumstances that you need to get the right call.”

“At 11 v 11 I couldn't have been more comfortable on the sideline,” Appleton added.

“We were playing well and the front three caused them a lot of problems on the day. We deservedly went ahead in the game and I felt relaxed. I knew we'd have to defend but I knew we'd be a threat on the counter.”