Royle slams 'travesty' of sending off

JOE Royle's fury was understandable as Ipswich missed out on a chance to move back into third place after going down to 10 men at Millwall.

JOE Royle's fury was understandable as Ipswich missed out on a chance to move back into third place after going down to 10 men at Millwall, writes Derek Davis.

Frenchman Georges Santos was sent off for a second booking, a decision Royle believes was a travesty.

He said: “Georges has done nothing. The referee was not even going to give a foul until the crowd screamed and the linesman might as well have not been there.

“Georges did not move and the lad ran into him.

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“In isolation I would have accepted the decision but that was not the only thing he got wrong.

“When you come to Millwall you need officials who are strong and experienced. I can only hope that was his first game because that can be his only excuse for that display.

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“Then the goalkeeper has handled the ball outside the box but apparently the rules have changed and he has stayed on.

“There were a lot of things I was displeased with from the officials.”

In fact, Williamson, from Theale near Reading, is in his first full season as a Football League referee after stepping up from an assistant referee last year following four years with the flag and was taking charge of his 17th Nationwide League game.

Things might have got worse when Millwall player-manager Dennis Wise went over a Pablo Counago tackle in dramatic fashion which the referee

initially thought had been late and


Royle said: “Pablo was going off because of the crowd's reaction until I made the fourth official speak to the

referee and explain he had not even touched him, never mind caught him late.”

The Blues manager's frustration was heightened by the lack of channels to lodge a complaint, or even an appeal against the sending off as it was for two cautions.

The refereeing incidents may not have mattered if either Shefki Kuqi or Darren Bent had put away their chances in the opening minutes of the game.

Royle said: “We dug in but we should have won the game. We were so much on top in the first half, especially early on, but we were not at our sharpest up front, from any of the three front players.

“It was a day for the back players to shine. The whole back four, the keeper and Chris Bart-Williams, defended very well and I'm delighted with them.”

Pablo Counago and Alan Mahon were thrown on at half-time in place of Kuqi and Ian Westlake in a bold move to stretch Millwall even more but it backfired six minutes later when Santos was sent off and Town's run of 19 games without failing to score ground to a halt.

Royle said: “Given 11 men on the pitch for 90 minutes we always have a chance to score.

“If I had known we were going to go down to 10 men I would not have taken Shefki and Ian off. It was a move to win the game as neither were having a good day. But they are our running power which we would have needed down to 10 men.”

Mahon was himself substituted in the dying moments after tiring from so much defensive running.

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