League round-up: Freedman demands change after ref Berry leaves him sour

 

The Bolton manager Dougie Freedman called for the Football Association to use full-time referees in all Championship games after his side were held at home by Barnsley.

Freedman was frustrated by the performance of official Carl Berry during yesterday's 1-1 draw and said: "They must be full-time trained, full-time fitness-wise and helped with things so they will understand the game more. You can't blame him, you have got to blame the system.

"The Premier League have got 18 full-time referees and that's the reason they are a lot better. Until referees at this level, which is a very important level, are full-time, I can't criticise the referee.

"The poor guy has probably been asked to work all week to fend for his family and then he is asked to turn up in a stadium and make big decisions. It is unfair."

At Ashton Gate, referee Gavin Ward was also the centre of attention after awarding two penalties in the last 10 minutes as Bristol City drew 1-1 with Blackpool.

Blackpool manager Michael Appleton said: "The ref took four or five seconds to make up his mind and seemed set to award a goalkick before the home fans reacted."

Bristol City manager Derek McInnes said: "I have watched the incident five or six times and I still can't tell whether it was a penalty. My understanding is that officials have to be sure, so I think we have been hard done by."

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace beat Derby 3-0 to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games and move two points clear at the top of the Championship.

Palace manager Ian Holloway said: "The professionalism and determination to keep this run going is awesome and I have to say it's an absolute pleasure to watch them play at the moment."

In League One, Sheffield United beat Stevenage 4-1 to pull within two points of leaders Tranmere. Hartlepool were thrashed 5-0 by Coventry in new manager John Hughes' first game in charge and are seven points adrift at the bottom.

In League Two, Neil Sullivan made his AFC Wimbledon debut in a 1-1 draw with Aldershot. The 42-year-old goalkeeper, who started his career at the original Wimbledon, has joined on a short-term loan deal from Doncaster.

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