Charlton boss Lee Bowyer criticises referee display during Oxford stalemate

Charlton manager Lee Bowyer launched a scathing attack on referee Dean Whitestone after his team were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Oxford.

Charlton manager Lee Bowyer launched a scathing attack on referee Dean Whitestone after his team were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Oxford.

The hosts were leading 1-0 after Lyle Taylor’s first-half penalty when, after Robert Dickie escaped a second yellow card for a foul on Jason Pearce, Whitestone allowed play to continue despite Josh Cullen being down with a suspected head injury and Oxford took advantage to score.

Substitute Gavin Whyte’s fine finish ultimately punished Charlton‘s wastefulness, but Bowyer insisted that not only should Oxford have been down to nine men and that play should have been stopped with Cullen down, but that Whitestone ignored that very call, insisting the referee ignored instructions from his fourth official to allow the visitors to score.

The manager also described the penalty awarded to his side as ‘soft’, he said: ‘He heard (the fourth official). He was saying ‘head injury’; the ref turned round while he was running, looked at the kid, saw him holding his head.

‘Josh is a tough player and would have tried to get back; he busted his lip. Was it a serious head injury? No. But they don’t know that, it could have been. How does the ref know? He’s just gambled and carried on.

‘(Dickie) should’ve been (off). So should the left-back (Josh Ruffels). I’ve been in the game 20-odd years and how many times do you see someone get pulled back and get booked?

‘The centre-half gets booked for pulling Lyle back and not less than five minutes later it is almost the same scenario and he doesn’t get booked. You can’t change the rules as the game goes on, you can’t.

‘Should that goal have stood? No.’

Bowyer was promoted from assistant manager when Oxford counterpart Karl Robinson resigned in March.

‘They came and made it difficult for us. Someone in front of the back four, it’s not like Karl. They came to maybe nick something. They’ll be happier with a draw than I am,’ he added.

‘We under-performed.Oxford came and made it difficult for us. It worked.’

Robinson and former Charlton player Ricky Holmes, both on their first returns to the Valley since their departures earlier this year, were booed by the home support and the manager defended his player.

‘He was told (by the club) he had to go, so why blame Ricky Holmes?’ he asked. ‘You’re always going to be the brunt of the jokes but I’m surprised at what Ricky Holmes got. It’s not his fault. That frustrated me.

‘(It was) weird to be back. To get the (positive) response I’ve had from the staff and players is something I’ve never, ever had before, and I was at MK Dons for seven years.

‘I wasn’t going to disrespect people by celebrating; I celebrated in my dugout, and didn’t want to create trouble for people.

‘The first half was even. Second half we were the better team.’