Level of officiating irks Manning after Rotherham defeat

MK Dons 0-3 Rotherham United

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 6:41 pm

Dons’ head coach Liam Manning was unimpressed with the performance of referee Chris Sarginson and his assistants during the 3-0 defeat to Rotherham United on Saturday

Liam Manning was left frustrated by referee Chris Sarginson after he felt several key decisions went against his MK Dons side in the 3-0 defeat to Rotherham United on Saturday.

Michael Ihiekwe headed the Millers in front after 27 minutes, but Manning felt at least three of Rotherham’s players were offside when the free-kick was taken, while he also took issue with Ollie Rathbone’s persistent fouling before a yellow card was eventually shown in his direction late in the day.

Though Manning had issues with the performance of the officials, his side were distinctly second best to a Rotherham side who were on a eight-game unbeaten run, and made it a comfortable nine when Dan Barlaser scored direct from a corner in the second half, before substitute Freddie Ladapo wrapped it up with a third 18 minutes from time.

“It was a really difficult one to take,” said Manning. “The first goal was extremely frustrating because three of them were offside, so our guys did the job properly. We knew Rotherham would be extremely difficult to deal with at set-pieces, so to be punished that way is an extreme frustration and it had a big impact on the game.

“I don't want to deflect away from us, but I thought the level of officials today was poor. You look at Rathbone racking up numerous fouls and there was no consequence to it. Then you're relying on the officials to do the job properly. We play a certain style, and if people want to, rightly so, stop it, they have to make sure they do their jobs properly.

“There were some key moments which didn't go our way, which were down to a lack of quality of key decisions. But if we scored before half time with the three chances we had at that corner, it would have been a different game.”

With two of Rotherham’s goals coming from set-pieces - something which he had warned of on Friday - Manning said his side have to learn some harsh lessons from their heaviest defeat of the season.

He said: “We're at the start of our journey, I'm not using experience as an excuse, but it's a learning experience for us so when we come up against opposition like this, we can stand up and come out on top.

“Rotherham are well-organised, physical and intense opposition. I thought for large elements we were in it. We gave them a good level of competition but we weren't good enough in our attacking and didn't defend well enough.

“You can see they had a tough game against Wycombe, and today they look hardened to it. We are still learning, but it's about taking these experiences and making sure we get better quickly.”