SHEFFIELD UNITED boss Nigel Clough may have hailed referee Eddie Ilderton’s courage to correct his major faux pas on Tuesday night – but was less happy on another score.
The Tyne and Wear official dramatically changed his mind and reversed his decision to both award a penalty and dismiss Blades defender Kieron Freeman in the 32nd minute of the 0-0 draw with Brentford.
It came after Freeman’s well-timed challenge on Marcello Trotta, with Ilderton making his U-turn after a long consultation with assistant referee Mark Dwyer to reach the right outcome.
Clough praised Ilderton’s decision, but was rather less enamoured by the official not awarding the home side a spot-kick earlier in the game after a first-half challenge by Alan McCormack on Jamie Murphy.
It followed on from Clough’s criticism of Keith Hill in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Swindon, when he felt that the Blades should have been awarded ‘no less than three penalties’ at the County Ground.
He said: “I think that’s seven now in four games. I thought Jamie Murphy’s was a fair shout in the first half.
“After what happened (with Freeman), it would have had to be pretty obvious to give someone a penalty after that.”
On Ilderton’s major reversal regarding Freeman, he added: “I wish he hadn’t got it that wrong in the first place, but he waited in the tunnel at half-time and talked to the lads and said: ‘Bad angle.’
“It was absolutely fine and everyone got on with the game, but it was very, very brave and correct to do what he did.
“I had never seen anything like that which I can remember.
“As long as you get the right decision in the end, that’s the main thing.
“It was a little bit embarrassing. Everyone knew he had played the ball. Honestly, if it had happened against us, we would have wanted the same thing.”
Andre Marriner has been chosen to referee the Blades’ all-Yorkshire FA Cup semi-final with Hull City at Wembley on April 13.
It comes after the 43-year-old issued a red card to the wrong player in Chelsea’s 6-0 victory over Arsenal last month.
Marriner sent off Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain handled Edin Hazard’s shot. Both players were later cleared on appeal.