Brian Laws frustrated by inconsistent refereeing as Scunthorpe United are held by Notts County
Boss Brian Laws believes the inconsistency of referee Eddie Ilderton cost Scunthorpe United a third successive victory yesterday.
The Iron led 2-1 against Notts County in Laws' first home match back in charge at Glanford Park when, with more than 20 minutes to play, Paul Reid was sent off following an aerial challenge with Magpies substitute Yoann Arquin.
Ilderton dismissed the Scunthorpe skipper for supposed use of an elbow - but failed to see Notts striker Lee Hughes lash out at Tom Newey in the United penalty area soon after, an incident which left the full-back needing lengthy treatment.
To compound the home side's frustrations, Hughes later converted a cross at the back post to net his side's 82nd minute equaliser.
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"At first I thought it was just a clash of heads," said Laws, of the second red card of Reid's Iron career.
"I've watched it a number of times since and the one thing we've seen is that whenever a player is jumping, he's got to go up with his arms to give him a lift.
"Quite clearly, Reidy is watching the ball - and he's headed it very cleanly.
"We're disappointed (to see him sent off), but the Notts County players got around him and maybe made his mind up, I don't know.
"What was more alarming though was Lee Hughes, who got away with murder today.
"We've seen on the video that he absolutely smashed Tom Newey in the face in the 18-yard box, which we were all shouting about.
"We all saw it and it's so clear on the video, yet he stays on the park and scores the equaliser.
"That was the difference and that's the inconsistency of referees I'm afraid.
"I'm sure when the referee looks at it he'll cringe that he missed it. There should have been a player sitting on his backside, not scoring a goal.
"But we have to live with that."
Scunthorpe had led twice against the Magpies, but each time the visitors hit back to stretch their unbeaten run away from home to 18 games.
Nevertheless, Laws hailed Scunthorpe's 'desire' and 'commitment' - and also believes the noise made by the home crowd played a big part in making it three games without defeat.
"I'm disappointed, because overall I think we thoroughly deserved three points," the United manager assessed.
"We created the better chances of the two teams.
"They may be two points dropped, but in the circumstances you can also look at it as maybe a point gained, particularly with losing a player.
"We've been down to 10 men twice now in three games and we've not lost. That's a big positive.
"Notts County have got a good squad, a strong squad. They're unbeaten in 17 games away from home but we gave them a heck of a game.
"While you have to give them credit and respect, we know if we get our game right we can hurt anybody on the day.
"We proved we can be a match for anyone if we do things in the right manner.
"The biggest increase we've seen is in the desire. The players put a huge shift in, to a level that probably hasn't been seen here in a while.
"I think that was the first time the players have been applauded off for quite a while.
"The crowd played a huge part.
"From my point of view, I thought there was a tremendous atmosphere - the sort players crave for.
"It felt almost like our old home.
"Glanford Park was always a tough place to come - we want to get that back."