Caldwell unhappy with Atkinson
Wigan defender Steven Caldwell believes the Latics were denied a 'stonewall penalty' at Old Trafford.
Last Updated: 22/11/10 12:47pm
Wigan defender Steven Caldwell believes the Latics were denied a 'stonewall penalty' in their 2-0 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Roberto Martinez's men suffered their 11th successive Premier League defeat to the Red Devils on Saturday with goals from Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez enough for the hosts.
Wigan did little to aid their own cause in the second half, with captain Antolin Alcaraz and striker Hugo Rodallega seeing red in the space of three minutes, but Caldwell felt referee Martin Atkinson was wrong on a key decisions in the opening period.
Charles N'Zogbia wriggled clear of Nemanja Vidic before going to ground in the area, with Atkinson waving play on, and while replays showed the France international went over with little contact, Caldwell felt differently.
"I thought it was a stonewall penalty, and I'm certain that if it had been a Manchester United player it would have been a penalty," Caldwell told the Wigan Evening Post.
"I said that to the referee at half-time, and he said he felt that Charlie went down far too easily.
"My argument was why would he go down when he was in such a strong position.
"It was such a big decision that had a bearing on the game, because they got their first goal within a couple of minutes and all of a sudden we're 1-0 down at half-time."
Caldwell also questioned the first red card issued to Alcaraz, who was given his marching orders for two bookable offences, the second a mistimed lunge on Darren Fletcher who was heading away from goal at the time.
The Scotland international felt Atkinson did not have to book his team-mate, although most other observers felt otherwise, and suggested that the official may have been influenced by the home supporters.
"I wasn't even worried he might go off for the challenge, to be honest," Caldwell added.
"There were tackles flying in from their side - and I know I'm biased - that weren't getting punished, and could possibly have been bookings.
"But I thought it was an honest challenge from Antolin to get the ball, and although it was a certain foul on Fletch, which we accept, I just felt the referee could have shown a bit of leniency.
"Maybe the pressure from the crowd and whatever, meant he sent him off."