Doncaster: Blades match ref cost us points, says Saunders

Early bath: Rovers Billy Paynter is shown the red card by David Coote yesterday. Picture: Steve parkin

Early bath: Rovers Billy Paynter is shown the red card by David Coote yesterday. Picture: Steve parkin

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DEAN Saunders had a serious case of ‘ref rage’ after believing his Doncaster Rovers side were robbed of victory against Sheffield United.

A furious Saunders claimed a hard-fought South Yorkshire derby was too big a game for Nottingham official David Coote after watching the Blades come from two goals down to rescue an unlikely 2-2 draw at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Billy Paynter’s first half penalty and David Syers’ glancing header after the break had put Doncaster in the box seat.

But Nick Blackman’s controversial late penalty and Dave Kitson’s last minute equaliser earned United a share of the spoils.

Saunders was not only furious about the award of a penalty, given for a foul by Andy Griffin on Joe Ironside, but he was flabbergasted by Coote’s decision to send off Paynter, with Rovers leading 2-1, after a coming together with Tony McMahon.

“We played really well but the referee has done us,” raged Saunders.

“The game was too big for him. He’s made two terrible mistakes and it’s cost us two points that might cost us come the end of the season.

“It’s a blatant penalty for us but the goalkeeper also has to go off, for a start.

“Their penalty is a disgraceful decision, and the red card for Billy Paynter is never a red card.

“We could’ve been 8-0 up, they’ve not had a shot at our goal and the referee has cost us two points,” he added.

“Their lad’s got a hold of Andy Griffin’s shirt, Andy’s got his arm on him, but their lad’s pretended to get tripped up and the referee’s fallen for it. Andy’s not touched him.

“He said he gave it for Andy being all over him, but it’s a poor decision.

On Paynter’s dismissal, Saunders said: “It was a tangle of legs. Billy’s not done anything - he’s just got up and untangled his legs. We’ll appeal the red card.

“I’ll find it hard to swallow for a couple of days,” he added. “It’s difficult to say anything positive after that but we just have to pick ourselves up for Colchester on Saturday.”

The draw means Doncaster stay third in the table, level on points with second-placed United but with a game in hand. Leaders Tranmere won 1-0 at Bury to go three points clear at the top.