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'We have to get back into the Championship to get better refereeing' - O'Neill

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 November 2019

Referee Alan Young (centre) and his assistants Gareth Viccars (right) and Aaron Farmer (left) surrounded by security as the leave the pitch at the end of the Tuesday night's game. Photo: Steve Waller

Referee Alan Young (centre) and his assistants Gareth Viccars (right) and Aaron Farmer (left) surrounded by security as the leave the pitch at the end of the Tuesday night's game. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town's general manager of football operations, Lee O'Neill, says there is only one way the Blues' can benefit from better standards of refereeing - and that's promotion.

Ipswich Town players react after conceding a controversial penalty late in the game against Wycombe.  Picture: STEVE WALLERIpswich Town players react after conceding a controversial penalty late in the game against Wycombe. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Town have found themselves on the end of several moments of officiating controversy since dropping into League One, with emotions still raw following Tuesday night's goalless home draw with table-topping Wycombe Wanderers at Portman Road.

Referee Alan Young (Peterborough) and young linesman Aaron Farmer (Colchester), both in the early stages of their EFL careers, failed to spot a Wycombe handball in the box early on, disallowed a perfectly legitimate Luke Chambers goal just before half-time and then awarded the visitors a late penalty for a foul which initially occurred outside the area.

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Thankfully, Town keeper Tomas Holy produced a breathtaking spot-kick save to ensure it was honours even in a top-two clash that saw 11 yellows cards dished out altogether.

James Norwood remonstartes with referee Alan Young after he had disallowed Luke Chamber's first half goal against Wycombe. Picture: Steve WallerJames Norwood remonstartes with referee Alan Young after he had disallowed Luke Chamber's first half goal against Wycombe. Picture: Steve Waller

Fuming Blues boss Paul Lambert labelled the officials' performance as 'unacceptable', claimed 'if you want to referee this big football then you've got to have a bit of pedigree behind you - it's not Mickey Mouse football' and said he would be contacting Mike Jones at the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) to air his grievances.

MORE: 'In some ways it's frustrating... but the gaffer can't get it wrong' - Holy in the dark over Coventry cup clash

Meanwhile. Town striker James Norwood took to Twitter to say: "One of the worst performances I've ever seen from an official in 10 years of football. If he referees again it's a farce!"

Those midweek incidents follow on from the Blues having had strong shouts for the ball crossing the line in games against Accrington Stanley and Blackpool, with the last weekend's game also including a questionable penalty awarded against Chambers.

Referee Neil Hair books Kayden Jackson for diving in the home game against Sunderland. Photo: STEVE WALLERReferee Neil Hair books Kayden Jackson for diving in the home game against Sunderland. Photo: STEVE WALLER

Speaking at the recent Supporters' Club AGM, O'Neill said: "I think we've all seen there is a difference in standard of referees from the Premier League, to the Championship and into League One - it's similar to players when you look at it that way. Some of them aren't full-time anymore the lower you go down. It is difficult for them, but I think we have seen a difference in the standard.

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"Yes, they are marked. They do have assessors at games and I'm sure things are picked up. Would we like that to be done quicker and to be done better? Yes we would.

"Ultimately we have to make sure we get ourselves out of this league and back into the Championship to get better refereeing."

Toto Nsiala protests with referee Kevin Johnson after he awarded Lincoln a penalty at Portman Road. Picture: Steve WallerToto Nsiala protests with referee Kevin Johnson after he awarded Lincoln a penalty at Portman Road. Picture: Steve Waller

Town take on League One rivals Coventry City, at their temporary home of St Andrew's, Birmingham, in the FA Cup second round on Sunday (2pm ko).

Jay Spearing clears off the line for Blackpool - but did the ball cross? Photo: Steve WallerJay Spearing clears off the line for Blackpool - but did the ball cross? Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town players appeal as referee Stephen Martin awards Blackpool a penalty at Portman Road. Photo: Steve WallerIpswich Town players appeal as referee Stephen Martin awards Blackpool a penalty at Portman Road. Photo: Steve Waller

Armando Dobra pleads his case to the referee at Accrington after being dismissed. Picture: Pagepix LtdArmando Dobra pleads his case to the referee at Accrington after being dismissed. Picture: Pagepix Ltd

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