Blackburn boss Mowbray felt officials made a 'farce' of Rovers 2-2 draw with Luton

Reaction from Ewood Park following Town's last-gasp leveller

Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:13 am
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:24 am
Referee Oliver Langford

Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray felt that the refereeing performance from Oliver Langford during the 2-2 draw with Luton Saturday saw the game descend into a farce.

The official had a tough afternoon at Ewood Park, as he began by failing to send off home skipper Darragh Lenihan for a terrible studs high challenge on Town midfielder Allan Campbell after just 10 minutes which saw the summer signing from Motherwell unable to continue.

It was in the second period that Langford began to lose control of proceedings, eventually booking nine players in total, before having to be replaced himself in stoppage time after suffering a calf injury.

That allowed the Hatters to go on and level the game in the final seconds thanks to Luke Berry’s equaliser as an annoyed Mowbray said: “The reality is, I sat there for most of the game pretty proud.

"If I was a Blackburn Rovers supporter, I'd be pretty proud of that young team who’s fighting for every ball and scrapping.

“Unfortunately the officials made a farce of the game.

“If I was the guy who refereed that match, I’d be going home and having a look at it, watching it, seeing what I think I got right.

“I don’t think they get helped by the authorities, I don’t think they know, because if you look at that game, every tackle last year when somebody falls to the ground is a foul or a booking.

“Sometimes today there was body wrestling out there and he just plays on, so I'm not sure he knew what he was doing.

“I feel pretty vulnerable to think that, am I criticising the referee too much, because is it sour grapes?

“Well I’m hurting, the team are hurting, it’s really disappointing, we should have won that football match and yet there’s no accountability really from the officials.

“I thought they were really, really poor, but credit to Luton they kept digging.

“We spent half an hour in the dressing room with the team going through the goals, there’s a lot of honesty.

"Were we too deep? Did the strikers not help in stopping the crosses coming in the box at the death? There was a lot of honesty.”

The rules have been changed this season to allow referees to take a more lenient approach when on the field, letting the game flow more and not blowing up for every minimal contact.

However, they have yet to get it right in the opinion of Mowbray, as he continued: “The officials lost the plot, let’s be honest, don’t skirt around it.

“I can see the guy's eyes are glazed over, the fourth official doesn't know what to say, he’s embarrassed really and then he ends up going on himself.

“Did they want it more than us second half?

"No, but they are a physical, competitive team and if you look at the breakdown of their midfield players compared to our midfield players, I thought we fought our weight and stood our ground, and I think it was an extremely competitive football match.

“You just expect the guy in the middle to look after the players and do his job and I'm not sure he did, I'm not sure he knew what he was doing.

“They’ve obviously had a big meeting together and they've decided when a player falls over or when a player is tackled, lets let it run and let the game flow as a lot of people are wanting the game to flow.

“They’re stuck in this little zone, you've got Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool boss) recently saying 'protect my players, protect my players, what's going on?'

“Everything’s played on, they haven't got the balance right for me and today was going to be that game, because I prepared my team to make sure that if we got beat today by Luton Town, I didn't come in here and you say to me, ‘they wanted it a bit more than you today.’

“And I don't think that was the case.

"I thought our team fought and scrapped for everything, and if you're John Buckley or you're Joe Rothwell, you aren't a physical animal who is powerful and can run, you're a footballer, but you have to compete and fight when somebody’s asking questions of you.

“That’s all I ask them to do and I thought we did that pretty well today.

"I'm frustrated with only a point instead of three, but we should have taken all our chances when they came.”

Mowbray did however give Town credit for the manner in which they fought back from 2-0 down to earn a point thanks to two goals from Berry, who was getting his first minutes of the season following a persistent calf injury, adding: “We’re frustrated and disappointed, I thought we did more than enough to win the football match, but let me give them some credit.

"I prepared our team this week to go against a 100 per cent committed football team who fight for everything.

"I saw them recently at West Brom, they were three nil down and West Brom were hanging on for grim life at the end, two kicked off the line when it could have been three all.

"So they never give in, we knew that, we talked at half-time about keeping a clean sheet, winning the football match, but we hit the inside of the post and at three nil hopefully it would have been put to bed.

"Then at the death, how (Ben) Brereton and (Sam) Gallagher don't score when they were through on the goalie.

"What I know about them is they never give in Luton, credit to them, credit to their management team.”