Published: 10:00, 06 October 2021
| Updated: 10:28, 06 October 2021
Gillingham manager Steve Evans believes the standard of refereeing is in decline.
Evans was speaking after a night where his team were on the wrong end of some big calls against Ipswich Town in the EFL Trophy.
The Gills lost 2-0 - both goals which he and many others felt were offside - while a clear trip on Charlie Kelman inside the box didn’t result in a penalty.
Evans has already been in contact with EFL head of referees Mike Jones but admits he’s growing tired of challenging decisions on a regular basis.
He said: “On the night I am too far away, certainly the first goal from Joe Pigott to determine (if it was offside), but all the boys said off and their second goal is clearly off from where we were. It certainly looked like a penalty on Charlie Kelman.
“When we went in and looked at the video of the key incidents, well the match officials continually get worse don’t they? The standard is dropping considerably and I am getting fed up with going in to see them afterwards.
“The assessors, who are the coaches of the referees and in the main were referees from the Premier League and Championship previously, excellent referees with good judgment, and I am sick of the times I go in there and they have empathy with me.
“I sent the footage before I left the stadium to the head of referees, Mike Jones. He has come back and said Joe Pigott was half a metre to a metre clearly offside, the second one the ball travelled a long way but looks clearly offside and with Charlie Kelman the defender attempts to play the ball but takes the man, penalty."
Evans also felt his team should have had a penalty in the weekend game against Wigan, with the game level at 0-0.
He continued: “I don’t think there is any question of integrity, I just think the standard is decreasing every season that goes past in League 1 and 2 level.
“You work hard with that back four to hold a strong line. Joe Pigott finished well but it was offside and the second one is embarrassing for me and to not give the penalty is a shocking, shocking decision.
“It is not the referee for the offsides, that is down to his assistants who get the big two incidents wrong, but Trevor Kettle should see that penalty as clearly as everyone else in the stadium, including Paul Cook who I had a beer with after the game. He acknowledged the goals were questionable and as he said when he walked in (to the manager’s office), ‘let’s not talk about my goals or the penalty you didn’t get!’
“It doesn’t make up for some of the poorer performances individually (in the Gills team) but goals and incidents change games and our best spell was probably when Charlie gets brought down.
“I looked at the body language of young Bailey Akehurst and Harvey Lintott when they scored the second goal and the boy ran through, they are looking at the assistant referee and they are gobsmacked."