Published: 09:00, 02 April 2014
Dartford boss Tony Burman criticised the game-changing decision to send Kenny Clark off against Luton on Tuesday night.
Clark was shown a straight red card by referee Richard Martin for his tackle on Alex Lawless.
Dartford were 1-0 up at that stage but the Hatters made their numerical advantage count with two goals in the last seven minutes to win the game 2-1.
Burman said: "I’m really disappointed with the decision. The referee is in the centre of the field and the ball was down this side (by the dugouts).
"There’s absolutely no way he can see that’s a sending-off. It’s a foul, I agree, but a lot of people went round him and I think he reacted to that. I don’t think it’s a sending-off.
"To go down to 10 men, that’s when the full-time guys come into their own. With 15 minutes to go and 11 (players) on the field, it could have been a different story.
"It’s hurt us in the last 10 minutes and it gave them the lift they probably wanted. He’s standing behind it. He can’t see it and their player got up. The referee had an alright game but that decision, he’s got wrong, and it’s cost us."
Clark, who was deputising for the ineligible Jim Stevenson in midfield, had a good game in his unfamiliar role, although the tackle on Lawless was unnecessary.
Burman said: "When you’re tired, the brain tells you to do some strange things. Initially, he’s gone for the ball and I’m standing right close to it. The referee is not to one side, he’s behind him. In my opinion, he’s got the decision wrong."
On the decision to play Clark in midfield, he said: "We took a gamble. They’re physically quite strong in the midfield area.
"It was a little bit of a gamble we wanted to take and after the first 10 minutes, we settled down and we got organised and we were OK. Other than the sending-off, I think it worked. He’s done well, he’s done alright."
More by this authorSteve Tervet