Football League: Doncaster's Ferguson rages at 'disgusting' refereeing standards – The Guardian


A sixth win in eight matches for Gary Rowett’s Derby County ensured they remain second in the table. As integral to their hopes of promotion as Rowett is striker Matej Vydra, who bagged his 15th goal this term – three times as many as he mustered last season – in a 3-0 win over lowly Birmingham. As for Wolves, they were forced to settle for a draw at Oakwell. Diego Jota struck the bar for the visitors while Barnsley introduced £750,000 recruit Kieffer Moore off the bench, but they played out a stalemate.

Things went from bad to worse for Thomas Christiansen and Leeds United. With Samu Sáiz serving the first game of a six-match ban for spitting at Newport’s Robbie Willmott, midfielder Eunan O’Kane was sent off at Ipswich, where they slumped to a third defeat in four matches, Manchester City loanee Bersant Celina scoring the only goal. Their local rivals Norwich won 1-0 at high-flying Bristol City. With Alex Pritchard having moved on to pastures new with Huddersfield Town, James Maddison seized centre stage with the only goal of the game at Ashton Gate.

James Maddison wheels away.

James Maddison wheels away. Photograph: TGSPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

It was Middlesbrough supporters who were left to suffer arguably the most. Five minutes into stoppage-time at the Riverside, Grant Leadbitter felled Fulham’s Oliver Norwood inside the box, and the Brighton loanee dusted himself down to score the winner and hoist Slavisa Jokanovic’s side up to eighth.

Results: Barnsley 0-0 Wolves, Birmingham 0-3 Derby, Brentford 2-0 Bolton, Bristol City 0-1 Norwich, Cardiff City 4-0 Sunderland, Burton 1-3 QPR, Hull 0-0 Reading, Ipswich 1-0 Leeds, Middlesbrough 0-1 Fulham, Millwall 1-1 Preston, Nottingham Forest L-L Aston Villa

League One

Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Ferguson launched a blistering attack on the standard of match officials after referee Andy Haines waved away a late penalty appeal in the draw with Plymouth. “It’s the most blatant penalty you’ll ever see,” Ferguson said. “I think it’s disgusting, to be honest. To not see that is a disgrace.”

Ferguson also argued that Plymouth’s equaliser should have been ruled out for a foul. “We’re just getting poor officials. The goal is a clear foul, and the linesman is laughing about it,” he added. “They’re part-time, the standard’s appalling, the fitness levels at this level are a disgrace. What would I like the FA to do? Shoot them.”

Blackburn Rovers closed the gap to second-place Shrewsbury Town to just two points after a 3-1 win at Ewood Park. Charlie Mulgrew, the Rovers defender and captain scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season, the first a majestic free-kick, either side of Danny Graham’s strike to earn Tony Mowbray’s side a first win in four games. A duel between table-topping Wigan Athletic and Peterborough had the makings of a classic but, instead, they played out a goalless draw.

Charlie Mulgrew, Elliott Bennett and Bradley Dack

Charlie Mulgrew, Elliott Bennett and Bradley Dack lead the celebrations at Ewood Park. Photograph: Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Portsmouth thought they were going to make up some ground themselves when Jamal Lowe opened the scoring at home to Scunthorpe – but Kevin van Veen bagged his fourth goal in six matches to take a point. Elsewhere in the play-off picture, Bradford City slipped up at home to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Northampton, while Charlton won 1-0 at rock-bottom Bury to go sixth. New Fleetwood Town signing Toumani Diagouraga kickstarted a 2-1 win at Southend, while Walsall edged out Oxford United 2-1 with Erhun Oztumer again on the scoresheet.

Results: Blackburn 3-1 Shrewsbury, Blackpool 0-0 Bristol Rovers, Bradford 1-2 Northampton, Bury 0-1 Charlton, Doncaster 1-1 Plymouth, Gillingham 2-1 Rochdale, MK Dons 0-0 AFC Wimbledon, Oldham 1-1 Rotherham, Portsmouth 1-1 Scunthorpe, Southend 1-2 Fleetwood, Walsall 2-1 Oxford, Wigan 0-0 Peterborough

League Two

Is anybody doing a better job than Mike Flynn at Newport County? After staying afloat by two points last season, that margin now separates his team from the play-off places. Fresh from knocking Leeds out of the FA Cup, a 2-1 win over Grimsby Town means the good times keep on rolling for Newport. The fourth tier saw the biggest upset of the weekend, with struggling Chesterfield humbling leaders Luton Town, who have lost consecutive league matches on the road.

Frank Nouble

The one-time Chelsea and West Ham United striker Frank Nouble celebrates scoring for Newport County. Photograph: Huw Evans/Rex/Shutterstock

Accrington Stanley made it three wins in a row to go third after victory at Cheltenham. In the play-off pack, there were wins for Wycombe and Exeter City, with the latter getting the better of Coventry City thanks to Ryan Harley’s seventh-minute heaven, a result that sees Mark Robins’s side tumble out of the top seven on goal difference. Elsewhere, high-fliers Lincoln and Notts County played out a 2-2 draw, while Swindon Town took home bragging rights from their clash with rivals Forest Green Rovers, thanks to Luke Norris’s winner.

Results: Cambridge 0-0 Mansfield, Carlisle 1-0 Crewe, Cheltenham 0-2 Accrington, Chesterfield 2-0 Luton, Crawley 2-0 Barnet, Exeter 1-0 Coventry, Grimsby 1-2 Newport, Lincoln City 2-2 Notts County, Morecambe 1-1 Stevenage, Port Vale 1-1 Yeovil, Swindon 1-0 Forest Green, Wycombe 3-1 Colchester

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