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City endure a night of reffing hell

PUBLISHED: 14:25 03 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:22 02 July 2010

Neil Adams

Norwich were beaten at Tranmere - but not by the opposition players. Unfortunately, the officials had a shocking game and City were left with an almost impossible task, having to play with 80 minutes for only 10 men.

Norwich were beaten at Tranmere - but not by the opposition players.

Unfortunately, the officials had a shocking game and City were left with an almost impossible task, having to play with 80 minutes for only 10 men.

City didn't start the game well but the fact that two, if not all three, key decisions went against them made it very, very difficult.

Some of the decisions were crazy. Manager Paul Lambert can't say it and the players can't say it but we could all see that big mistakes were made.

The first penalty for Tranmere looked harsh on Darel Russell - and the decision to award a spot-kick was made worse by the fact that referee Eddie Ilderton didn't give it until he saw the linesman put the flag across his chest.

The referee was much closer to the incident than the linesman and it looked ball to hand.

There's no way that Russell could have moved his arm to the ball as he was only a couple of yards away.

And he wasn't shown the red card because there was the goalkeeper and a defender behind him, plus the ball might not even have been on target.

The second penalty was a clear dive. I'm not blaming the player because he's looked for contact and Fraser Forster may have left himself a little bit exposed by rushing out, but the decision to award a penalty was compounded by the fact that the referee had to send off Forster.

I'm not blaming the referee for giving the red card. Once he's decided it's a foul then Forster had to be sent off but a team is punished twice and I feel this is a rule that needs looking at.

The third Tranmere goal was a clear handball by their striker Craig Curran.

If the officials can see Russell's handball and deem it deliberate then how can they not see the clear offence committed by Curran?

All of these decisions prove once again that video replays should be brought into professional football.

I've been saying it for years and fourth officials have access to monitors at matches these days so why not use them?

I'm talking only two, three or four decisions - ones that can potentially change the course of games. Nine times out of 10, the fourth official could instantly make the correct decision and relay that back to the referee.

Last night's referee made matters worse when sending off Lambert after he came on to the pitch to kick the ball back to a City player.

In that instance the official should have just used a little bit of commonsense.

Week in, weeek out, managers are seen running down the touchlines and going out of their technical areas so to send off Lambert for running 10 yards and retrieving the ball seems ridiculous.

As for City's performance, I thought they continued to make chances and passed the ball around well.

There were numerous chances when players could have toe-poked the ball at goal but it just didn't fall right in the penalty box.

City have just got to move on and forget about this match. Hopefully we'll get a better performance from the match officials in the home match against Stockport on Monday.

t NEIL'S MAN OF THE MATCH - GRANT HOLT: In a game like this, when all the cards are stacked against you, Holt is the kind of player you need. He took the lead, rallied the troops and was adamant that his side wasn't going to give up the fight. He ran and chased all night and got the goal. When the chips are down, his leadership qualities really come to the fore.

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