Ward: Referee made major mistake

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward says he has never witnessed anything like the bizarre ‘goal’ his side were disallowed at Charlton.

In the 64th minute referee Darren Sheldrake disallowed, then allowed, then disallowed a Steven Gillespie finish.

The official blew his whistle as the striker slotted the ball home anticipating that he was offside from Matt Heath’s pass.

The well-placed linesman on the near side kept his flag down throughout though and after the pair had a lengthy consultation the goal was allowed.

The two teams kicked off again but soon afterwards the referee stopped the game and went over to this time talk to his fourth official as both benches argued with each other.

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And after another long discussion the goal was disallowed and a drop ball awarded instead.

Charlton then found a winner 11 minutes from time through Bradley Wright-Phillips.

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“Prior to Steven putting the ball in the net the referee has anticipated that he was offside,” said Ward. “He did blow the whistle very briefly before the ball goes in so in the end he’s probably got the decision correct.

“However there was no reason for him to blow in the first place. And I don’t believe the Charlton players stopped because of it either.

“I have been in football for 40 years as a player, coach and manager and have never seen a situation like that. The referee has made a major mistake and I think he knows that.”

He continued: “I’m just really pleased with the way my team handled themselves after that. There was a danger they could have lost their heads but they kept their discipline and I’m proud of that.

“I’ll write my (referee) report now as I do every week and put my number on the bottom. No-one ever rings though and I’m sure it will be the same this time.

“If this had happened in the Chelsea versus Liverpool game on Sunday we’d never hear the last of it, but because it’s Charlton v Colchester it will just get dismissed and no-one will pay the consequences for their actions.

“I thought we’d played really well and we’ll never know how the game would have ended if the goal had been given.

“We try and just get on with things at this club but it’s particularly tough to do so tonight.”

Meanwhile, Ward confirmed that keeper Ben Williams came off at half-time with a back injury which he felt slightly before kick-off.

– Full report in tomorrow’s EADT.

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