Keith Hill has criticised the standard of officiating his Rochdale AFC side are experiencing this season in the wake of their 3-1 defeat to Doncaster Rovers at Spotland Stadium on Saturday.
Top-scorer Matty Done’s diving header gave Rochdale an early lead, but goals from Kyle Bennett, Theo Robinson and Curtis Main secured the three points for Doncaster in the League One clash.
Dale played the majority of the second half with ten men after Done received his marching orders for a challenge on James Coppinger, but Hill was most disappointed with the awarding of a dubious corner in the build up to the visitor’s second goal.
Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, Hill said: “I find myself in an embarrassing situation where I have to try and explain away refereeing decisions after games when the referees can’t and the Referees’ Association won’t.
“I don’t want to be condescending or disrespectful to anybody, but I would seriously question the standard of officiating that we’re getting in the Football League.
“We were a bit lucky with the scoreline still at 1-1 going into the last five minutes of the game, but only the referee can explain why he gives a corner which sets the sequence of corners off.”
A run of six corners were awarded as Doncaster piled on the pressure late in the game, eventually resulting in Robinson heading Rovers into the lead with minutes remaining.
A further strike from Main cemented the result, with the loss seeing Rochdale slip down to ninth in the table.
They will now travel to high-flying MK Dons on Tuesday night without the services of Done after his straight red card, although Ian Henderson should return after serving a suspension of his own.
Hill was concerned with the speed at which referee Jeremy Simpson reached his decision to send Done off, saying: “If there was a gold medal for the quickness of producing a red card, I think he [the referee] would have won today.
“I’ve had a look at the sending off – the camera angle isn’t great – but it looks like Matty Done initially gets the ball.
“He isn’t off the floor in any shape way or form, but there is contact. No question about that.”
While bemoaning some of the decisions his team received, Hill was quick to point out the quality of the opposition.
Doncaster had 60% of possession, and mustered 13 attempts at goal including striking the woodwork twice, compared to just two efforts from the home side.
“We played against a very good side today. I thought they were excellent and we’ve fallen short,” Hill said.
“There’s no shame in falling short, and if I’m being honest with you, we could have been beaten with 11 men.
“It was going to be a difficult game even though we went 1-0 to the advantage. They caused us problems all afternoon.”
As well as the mid-week trip to Milton Keynes, Rochdale face a derby against Oldham Athletic and a second round FA Cup tie at Aldershot Town over the next fortnight as the Football League programme gets predictably busy in the lead up to Christmas.
Main image courtesy of Official Rochdale AFC via YouTube, with thanks.