Neil Warnock was left seething with the officials for missing Jarrad Branthwaite's "horrific" challenge on Dael Fry that left the defender within "a quarter of an inch of losing his eye", according to the Middlesbrough boss.
In a game that Middlesbrough fell to a 1-0 defeat to Blackburn, the major talking point came after just 13 minutes as Branthwaite's studs raked down Fry's face as he went for a header in the Rovers box.
Branthwaite was lucky to stay on the pitch for the challenge, which went unpunished despite the remonstrations of Boro's players and the fury of boss Warnock in the dugout. Fry left the pitch with a nasty gash just under his eye - an injury Warnock called "horrific".
"From that moment on I didn't even want to be on the bench after seeing the horrific injury," he said.
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"I don't think the lad meant to do it but it's a red card and a penalty. The whole game has been decided by the officials today. It should be decided by people who know the laws and the rules. [The referee] is in a good position, the linesman should give it if he doesn't. The doctor says [Fry] was within a quarter of an inch of losing his eye - that is how serious it is. I feel sick for the player.
"We don't get a penalty, don't get a sending off and lose one of our best players. It's just a travesty.
"It'll be interesting to see what they come up with. We can't talk to them after the game because we can't go near them. Surely they can teach referees what is dangerous and what isn't. If that isn't, when it is endangering a player's career, then I don't know what is. It shouldn't have needed VAR today, everybody could see it's a red card. There has to be a reason why they haven't given it and I haven't got a clue why.
"The studs have gone down within a millimetre of his eyeball. He's in a mess at the moment. That was my big concern. Everything in that incident was the game today. If the decision is given we would have won the game comfortably, we were on top."
Mowbray: He's not that kind of lad
Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray jumped to the defence of his centre-back Branthwaite.
The 18-year-old has played two matches for his new side since joining them on loan from Everton but has made a big impression.
Mowbray said: "I haven't seen it, and I don't say that flippantly. Neil obviously has.
"But we are talking about a young 18-year-old boy who is just trying to put his head or boot on the end of everything like he is told as a centre-half.
"I've known him a week now and he is not the kind of lad. He's a diamond of a lad.
"But the referee is the one who makes the decision and I've said for a long time the standard of the refereeing is not good enough at this level.
"I'm an advocate of getting ex-players into those kind of roles, people who have played the game and understand it."