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Watch as Gillingham manager Neil Harris is sent off in win over Crewe; He accuses officials of poor standards and wants an apology over disallowed Oli Hawkins' goal

Gillingham boss Neil Harris has urged the officials to review Oli Hawkins’ disallowed goal and apologise - accusing them of making a shambolic error.

Harris was red carded for dissent on Tuesday night after referee James Oldham disallowed Hawkins’ 90th minute headed effort against Crewe because of a perceived foul. It was a decision the Gills manager couldn’t keep his cool about.

Gillingham boss Neil Harris urges officials to review disallowed goal and apologise
Gillingham boss Neil Harris urges officials to review disallowed goal and apologise

Harris said: “There was nothing wrong with the goal and I have seen it from two different angles, it was a brilliant header. That would have given us the breathing space and composure to see the game out comfortably.”

The Gills were leading 2-1 at the time and moments after the disallowed goal - while Harris was taking his seat in the main stand following the dismissal - it needed a super double save from Glenn Morris to deny Elliott Nevitt and then Matus Holicek in stoppage-time.

Assistant boss David Livermore was also booked for dissent as the Gills management couldn’t contain their frustration.

“I rarely talk about referees, it is not really my thing," said Harris. "I thought the fourth official (Paul Kelly) didn’t help at all on the sideline and the referee, if you are going to referee at the level, referee at the level, if you are not good enough for the level don’t referee at the level, but the decision for Oli Hawkins’ goal to be disallowed was a shambles.

“All game he never gave one single free-kick to Oli Hawkins. Every time the ball went forward their centre half Luke Offord, a very good centre-half at the level, but he is 5ft 11inch. Oli Hawkins is 6’ 6. If he can’t jump it’s because he is being held, they held him the whole game, not one foul on Oli Hawkins all game from their centre halves.

“One ball goes in the box, Oli heads it, no contact whatsoever, he (the referee) gives a foul. There is no consistency in it.

“I used choice terminology and the fourth official couldn’t wait to grass me up to the referee and I thought they could have grown up a little bit, dealt with it like men, rather than get the red card out.

“I thought the fourth official was terrible all night, he was no help whatsoever.”

Harris will now be in line for a fine and a touchline ban.

He started the season watching Gills’ opening game from the stands after receiving a £1,000 fine and a ban after comments made towards referee Darren Drysdale at Portsmouth.

The Gills boss isn’t one to rant and rave unnecessarily.

“If I was wrong I would apologise to the officials,” he said. “I used the wrong terminology, I respect that and I understand that and I take my punishment if it comes my way, but you can’t make decisions like that.

“If we had conceded a late goal and been relegated by a decision, it’s a disgrace. The way Oli Hawkins was treated by their defenders, man-handled all game, not one decision he got.

"He scored a perfectly good goal. I urge the officials to look at it. Does anybody seriously think it is a foul? Not in a million years. If he can’t get decisions like that right, he shouldn’t be refereeing at the level.

“I will take the punishment, what comes my way, as always, it won’t be the first time, but they went down the other end and Glenn had to make his only save of the game, if that goes in, then the place would erupt and we would be absolutely gutted.

“I urge them (the officials) to look back at the goal and send me an apology.”

There could be another issue for the Gills following a late substitution when David Tutonda replaced Cheye Alexander. Clubs are permitted to use five substitutes to be made on three occasions in a match, with an additional opportunity to make a change at half-time.

The Gills had already made changes on 67, 77 and 91 minutes before Tutonda’s 93rd minute introduction. Harris put the technicality on the officials’ shoulders.

“That is nothing to do with me,” he said. “I was sitting in the stands at the time, that is down to the fourth official. They got so much wrong during the game that they have to improve, they have to improve the standards.”

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