HEAD coach Steve Evans rued the lack of an offside flag after his Leeds United side went down 1-0 to Nottingham Forest.
Evans’ side were left cursing Nelson Oliveira’s existence for the second time in as many months as the Portugal international’s eighth goal of the season stretched Forest’s unbeaten Championship run to 13 matches.
Oliveira scored in Forest’s 1-1 draw with Leeds at the City Ground in December and he richly deserved his winner on the hour at Elland Road for an energetic performance on his own in the attack.
It ended Leeds’ six-match unbeaten sequence and delighted manager Dougie Freedman, who had a spell on loan at Leeds from Crystal Palace in 2008 during his playing days.
Evans, though, claimed Oliveira’s goal should have been wiped out for offside.
He said: “Give credit to Forest. They had one chance and took it - but the goal was a fraction offside so I am frustrated. If the referee’s assistant had done his job we would have got something from the game.
“Unfortunately, when we created half-chances we didn’t have any quality on the end of them. The fans have every right to be disappointed because we were not sharp enough in the final third of the pitch, but it is very difficult when a team comes and parks so many men behind the ball.”
Evans added: “At the moment we don’t have the quality of player to get on the end of crosses. Our £3million player (Chris Wood) was sitting in the stand injured.
“The problem is that some players are not good enough and the fans recognise that. A lot of money has been spent here on wages but all clubs have a budget.”
Oliveira broke the stalemate by turning in Eric Lichaj’s measured cross to the far post from the right, the striker’s close-in shot grazing the woodwork on its way into the net.
Forest were quicker on the ball and Leeds keeper Marco Silvestri was a busier keeper than Dorus De Vries, who did not have a serious save to make in the first half.
Gary Gardner fired against the Leeds bar in the 20th minute and Robert Tesche volleyed wide from eight yards just six minutes later with Leeds on the back foot.
There was little improvement from the home side after the break and Leeds were booed off at the finish.