Gary Caldwell hit out at ‘ridiculous’ officiating after seeing Wigan Athletic suffer last-gasp heartache in a seven-goal thriller at Nottingham Forest.
Latics came from behind three times at the City Ground in a gutsy display - albeit hampered by woeful defending - only for Forest to grab a stoppage-time winner through Thomas Lam.
The big centre-back found the back of the net just moments after being involved in an altercation with Will Grigg at the other end of the park.
Already on a yellow card, Lam appeared to lash out at the Latics striker after both players had fallen to the turf, which provoked an angry response from the normally mild-mannered Grigg.
Referee James Linington elected not to punish Lam, but instead brandish a yellow card to Grigg for his protestations.
And Caldwell - who heavily criticised the officials following the 1-1 draw against Birmingham in midweek - could not hide his disgust after the game.
“We again get a ridiculous decision from a referee and a linesman,” he told the Evening Post.
“I don’t know why the linesman and the fourth official are here.
“They might as well stay at home because they don’t get involved at any point in the game.
“The fourth official continually looks down at the ground, when I thought he was meant to help the game - and he doesn’t see anything in the game.
“The linesman was 10 yards away, and then the guy who does it goes up the other end and scores.
“I’m not taking any blame away from our defenders, because our defending was unacceptable.
“But the referee and his assistants have to do their job as well.”
Lam had been trying to allow a through ball run out of play, with Grigg trying to hook his leg round the ball to win a corner.
And Caldwell was in no doubt that a real injustice had occurred.
“He’s kicked out at him,” the Latics chief added.
“I know Will really well, and he doesn’t react like that unless there’s an incident.
“The linesman can see it, because he’s looking right at it, but again they claim they didn’t see anything.
“If you’re here to work, and here to do a job, then you need to see incidents like that.”
That said, the Latics players - particularly the defence - had only themselves to blame for their role in their own downfall, despite giving as good as they’d got for the duration.
“I’m sure the players are hurting, because to do that amount of things right and still lose the game is disappointing,” Caldwell acknowledged.
“You can accept it when you don’t perform to any sort of level.
“But we did here, and we shot ourselves in the foot with all four goals.”
Caldwell also explained the absence of Player of the Year David Perkins, who has been a virtual ever-present in the engine room since his arrival last summer.
“David felt his hamstring on Thursday,” Caldwell revealed.
“He’ll have a scan on Monday and we’ll find out the damage.”