Farcical refereeing doesn't dampen Dons' spirit - Neilson

Referee Charles Breakspear
Referee Charles Breakspear

Robbie Neilson blasted referee Charles Breakspear for sending off FIVE MK Dons players and staff during the 1-0 win over Peterborough on Saturday.

Joe Walsh and Osman Sow were sent off either side of a Chuks Aneke goal - the only one of the game - as Dons defied the odds to play with nine men for 68 minutes all told. But on the touchline, Neilson, assistant Stevie Crawford and first team coach Neil MacFarlane were also, according to the Dons boss, told they weren't welcome for the second half before agreeing to let Crawford and MacFarlane back on.

Joe Walsh was sent off after eight minutes

Joe Walsh was sent off after eight minutes

Neilson, who watched the second half from the director's box, said he questioned referee Breakspear's fitness at the interval, and called into doubt both sendings off of his players.

He said: "The first one was given by the linesman but the second one was farcical. They change the rules and make decisions and make it up themselves.

"The referee lost control of the game. In his previous three games, he's sent off five players. He has now sent off seven in four. I don't think it reflects well on him.

"If you're willing to accept money to officiate a game, you have the responsibility to keep a fitness level and he doesn't do that.

Osman Sow was sent off after 34 minutes.

Osman Sow was sent off after 34 minutes.

"If you're not fit enough to make the correct decisions, that's maybe why he made the ones he did. I'm sure he'll have a long hard look at himself, and I hope he does, and I'm sure the assessor does because I'm sure he won't be happy with that performance."

While the refereeing performance didn't match Neilson's levels, the one shown by his players certainly did. Unfazed by their numerical disadvantage, they blocked everything Peterborough had, bravely defending their narrow advantage for most of the game, and nine minutes of stoppage time at the end as the visitors tried to lay siege on the Dons goal to no avail.

Neilson said: "They were all men out there. They all stood up to the plate and did what they had to do. They played for hte club and each other.

"It shows the spirit of hte club. We've had an extremely difficult time. We've found it hard to get three points despite good performances we've not been able to get over the line. The players are still fighting.

"There are a lot of things that went against us - decisions and incidents - but we showed the spirit we need. It's a club that rose against the odds as well.

"We haven't performed well for periods this season. We've had tough times but this shows the character of the team and the club. If a team goes down to nine men and get disillusioned, we lose that game. But we stood up to the plate. It was a massive day.

"It has been a while since we got a result. We've had some really good performances where we haven't picked up maximum points. We work, keep doing the right things and we saw that today. We've jumped up but we want to keep going."