Dartford manager Alan Dowson has blasted the standard of refereeing in National League South as “horrendous” this season.
The Darts were left bemused yet again on Tuesday night by the manor of striker Harvey Bradbury’s red card in the 2-1 home defeat to Chelmsford.
“They’re getting worse,” fumed Dowson. “The referees in the league are horrendous. Ever since they have this power now that you can’t surround them, they’re getting worse.
“I’ll say it on record, I think the referees have been awful in this league. They’ve cost us a few points, that’s for certain.”
It was the third controversial game in a row that has left Dowson frustrated with the officials. The manager himself saw red at Hemel Hempstead and Darts striker Alex Wall somehow collected a second yellow card against Weston last week when an opposition player dived to win a free-kick.
Bradbury had an ongoing battle with Chelmsford defender Luke Jenkins, which boiled over on the edge of the penalty area just before the hour mark when the ball was cleared to the halfway line.
However, it took the officials three minutes and a reaction that included the injured party having to be restrained by his own physio and goalkeeper, and a Chelmsford supporter running onto the pitch, before referee Nick Dunn showed the red card after consulting with both of his assistants, neither of whom flagged at the time.
“Nobody’s seen it, that’s what it is,” said Dowson. “The referee hasn’t seen Harvey do anything tonight, the referee says the linesman did and the linesman says he didn’t and Harvey gets sent off. So why did he get the red card?
“100 per cent it was the reaction of the players. It’s pathetic. Are they going to do anything about one of their supporters running onto the pitch?
“I’m lost for words on it, I think it’s scandalous, I think it’s proper scandalous. I do.”
Dowson’s fury was compounded as seconds after the Bradbury clash, Darts defender Joash Nembhard was injured and had to be replaced.
“I’ve got my lad Joash who has to go to hospital now and he never saw that one, did he?” he added.
“His cheek has swelled right up. I’m not saying Harvey hasn’t done it as I haven’t seen the video yet but no one’s seen that one.
“My lad has to come off with concussion and go to hospital but that’s all right?
“If Harvey’s done him then he deserved to get sent off. The video will tell. It’s got to go both ways.”
Dowson was later booked by the referee and the Darts manager explained: “I shouted to the referee to ‘get a grip’, that’s what I shouted. My lad has to go to hospital with a big bump by his eye so the referee has to get a grip of the game. He hasn’t and I think the referee is a disgrace.
“They have this respect campaign but how can you respect that? I’ve no problem with getting beaten in the game, that’s my fault. But how can you respect referees when they go on like that. I don’t know how we do it.
“They’ve come in with power, and I think it’s gone to their heads. I got booked for saying ‘get a grip’, that’s all I said.
“So, I get booked for that when my lad is going to hospital now and I’ve had someone sent off, I’ve got a right to say get a grip. If I can’t do that, then it’s scandalous.”
Dowson also revealed why he saw red in the defeat at Hemel Hempstead at the end of last month.
“They’re disgraceful,” added the Dartford boss. “They put jobs on the line.
“The other day (at Hemel) I got sent off when the linesman swore at Joash. The linesman swears at Joash so I said to him ‘you’ve just told my player to f*** off, so you f*** off’ and I get sent off. I take responsibility for that, I’ll take the punishment for that.
“But what about the linesman, who did it right in front of the assessor by the way, told my player to ‘f*** off’. Does he not get done? And what about the goal that should have stood?
“Everybody gets away with it apart from the managers. We lose our jobs from it, we get suspended, and they don’t get all that.
“If they come to me and say ‘Dowse, did you swear at the referee?’. I’ll say ‘yes, I did, because the linesman swore in front of the assessor to one of my players’. If that’s the case do me, but do the referee as well.”