Roeder slams 'disgusting decision'

Chris Lakey Glenn Roeder has questioned the structure of match-day officiating - and piled the blame on referee Andy D'Urso for denying City a valuable point at Bristol City.

Chris Lakey

Glenn Roeder has questioned the structure of match-day officiating - and piled the blame on referee Andy D'Urso for denying City a valuable point at Bristol City.

The Canaries were well on their way to an impressive draw until a fateful injury-time decision by the Essex official, who penalised Norwich's Lee Croft for handball when it appeared the culprit was a home player.

That was, claimed Roeder, despite being told by fourth official Danny Roberts that D'Urso had got it badly wrong.

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Moments later Steve Brooker had scored a dramatic winner for Bristol City - leaving Roeder and assistant manager Lee Clark apoplectic on the touchline, and contemplating a continuing battle against the drop.

Roeder stormed on to the pitch at the final whistle to remonstrate with D'Urso and followed the officials as they left the field.

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But it is his contention that D'Urso ignored the advice of a fellow official that rubbed salt into the wounds - and could have disastrous consequences should City slip back into trouble over the remaining five games of the Championsihp campaign.

“I have never ever, in all my life, remonstrated with a referee straight after a game by walking on to the pitch,” said Roeder.

“I am not pleased with myself, I am not pleased with myself at all, but that was how strong I felt about D'Urso's performance, particularly the incident that led to their winning goal.

“I have got the fourth official screaming in my ear, 'Glenn, the Bristol City player has handled the ball'. I can clearly see that and that's before the free-kick has been taken.

“He even actually came over before the free-kick was taken and the fourth official told him it was a Bristol City player that handled the ball - mind you he'd gone by then, his lights had gone out.

“He wouldn't listen and the ball ends up in the back of the net. It's not acceptable. If a referee got that wrong on a Sunday morning pitch he'd be cried down. If D'Urso can't get those simple decisions right, my God, where's he going?

“That was disgusting what happened to us today.”

Clark appeared to be dismissed from the dug-out in the melee that followed the goal, as Bristol fans celebrated going to the top of the Championship, although Roeder suggested otherwise.

“The fourth official was consistently telling Lee Clark, 'look, Lee there is nothing I can do about it, I can clearly see that a Bristol City player's handled the ball, knocked it forward, D'Urso's got it badly wrong, there is nothing I can do'.

“The fourth official was saying, 'there is nothing I can do about this but it's clear the Bristol City player handled the ball, but I can't do anything about it'.

“And even that statement is ridiculous - what is the point of having a fourth official if he can't do something about it and help the referee, which he clearly needed it at that moment.”

Until those final moments, it had been an excellent afternoon's work by Norwich, but Roeder said the performance was of little consolation.

“There is none, no consolation,” he said. “We have to win and we would have drawn and I suppose before the game it would have been a respectable result a draw. But the manner of our performance had a win written all over it. Unfortunately until D'Urso decides to, let's say, take a hand in it.

“I would have been unhappy with 1-1.

“The team was brilliant out there and we have played them off the pitch today. They have done absolutely everything I could have asked of them except one thing, and that is putting the chances away. We are making too many chances which we are not putting away.”

Roeder confirmed that central defender Gary Doherty, who missed the game because of a back injury, would be fit for next weekend's home game against Burnley.

“But our centre backs were outstanding, absolutely outstanding,” he added. “In fact all the players put in a proper performance. This team (Bristol City) is going to the Premiership there is no doubt about it.

“It was a super game of football, there was a lot of passing and the one thing about Bristol City and Gary Johnson - his teams play good football, and they did today - except we played better, a lot better.”

Roeder's black mood won't have been helped by the sight of on-loan striker Maceo Rigters limping off with a hamstring injury.

“I would be very surprised if we see him again to be honest, which is a great shame,” he said. “We will of course do everything we can to look after him.

“The little brief spell he was on he was causing problems. He's such a bright lad and his runs are intelligent. It would have been interesting if we could have kept him on.”

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