Stoke City boss Mark Hughes was left "dismayed" by the performance of referee Martin Atkinson during his side's 5-1 defeat to Newcastle.
Describing Atkinson as an "experienced senior referee," Hughes questioned a number of the officials' decisions, which included a penalty and two first-half dismissals for the visitors.
Taking the lead through Oussama Assaidi, the visitors had enjoyed the better of the first half until the 40th minute when Glenn Whelan was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Followed by Marc Wilson three minutes later after the defender was adjudged to have pulled down Loic Remy in the penalty box, Hughes was also dismissed from the dugout by Atkinson for kicking a ball onto the pitch in frustration.
"I think the referee needs to look at his performance,” Hughes said during his postmatch news conference. “I thought from one of our arguably more senior referees I was absolutely dismayed by his performance to be perfectly honest
"Up to the point where the first sending off was given I thought we were totally in control of the game, 1-0 to the good. Newcastle were finding it very difficult to really have an impact on the game.
“We were very much in control and then the referee makes a couple of decisions which change the course of the game. We always say, managers, players, everybody, that you just want for the referees to make decisions that are correct and make the key decisions that don’t have a direct impact on the result. Unfortunately some of Martin’s decisions today had a direct impact on the result.”
With Whelan booked for two incidents involving Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye, Hughes felt the referee seemed too eager to book the Irish midfielder.
Hughes said: “He’s booked Glenn Whelan so he’s saying for kicking the ball away. Well I didn’t hear the whistle, Glenn Whelan certainly didn’t hear the whistle, Cabaye didn’t hear the whistle because he carried on and went over the top on Glenn Whelan.
"The only person who knew apparently that the whistle had been blown was the referee. He’s [Atkinson] saying he’s [Whelan] kicked the ball away while play was still continuing in my view.
“An experienced referee you expect them to understand the emotion of the game. Glenn made another challenge which was an innocuous challenge in my view. Cabaye didn’t do him any favours and went down too easily, but Martin Atkinson as I said is an experienced referee and should read that. In my view he was too ready to get the second yellow out."
Asked for his thoughts on the first of two penalties his side conceded during the game, Hughes was once again left disgruntled.
“I was still going up to the stand at the time so I didn’t see the incident,” he said. “I just saw the red card coming out. I’ve seen it again and it was a through ball played, the Newcastle centre forward had his arm across Marc Wilson, Marc Wilson’s trying to get towards the ball.
"I think the ball is running through, I don’t think the striker felt he was going to get a clean strike so he went down. You could argue it’s a clear cut opportunity but to compound the problem from our point of view, to get a red card as well is unbelievable."
With the subsequent penalty saved by Thomas Sorensen, Stoke were once again left questioning the officials just moments later when a handball from Mike Williamson in the build up to the Magpies equaliser was not given.
“We save the penalty we go down the other end with nine men and we have an opportunity to play somebody in for a clear opportunity on goal,” Hughes said. “It gets handballed by Williamson, the referee is two yards away and plays on and they go up the other end and score, so you can understand why we’re a little bit aggrieved by what’s happened today to be perfectly honest.
Eager to apologise for his own sending off, Hughes also confirmed he had not gone into Atkinson’s office after the game to discuss the incidents. “No, I couldn’t trust myself to go in to be perfectly honest,” he concluded.