Bristol Rovers boss requests apology from referee after Charlie Wyke's controversial Sunderland goal

Bristol Rovers boss Ben Garner says he has requested an apology from referee Ben Toner after Charlie Wyke’s second-half goal.

Abu Ogogo saw red for a foul on Chris Maguire
Abu Ogogo saw red for a foul on Chris Maguire

Tony Craig was left in need of treatment after a collision that allowed Wyke to run through, the striker scoring to put his side two goals clear just moments after Lynden Gooch’s opener.

Garner insisted that the game should have stopped due to a clash of heads.

Toner eventually booked Garner for his protest, and after the game he said the referee had ‘wilted’ in the second half.

“The second goal, I absolutely cannot fathom,” Garner said.

“The referee has told me it wasn't a clash of heads. I've asked for an apology because it's a very clear clash of heads and the game should stop straight away.

“He's booked me for saying it's a clash of heads.

“I thought he was very good first half and in the second half he has just wilted under the pressure unfortunately,” he added.

“The rules are the rules, it's a clash of heads, it's dangerous, Tony Craig has got a huge lump on the side of the head.

“He's hurt his knee in the collision as well so we're very disappointed with that.

“To say straight to my face that it wasn’t a clash of heads is just amazing.

“The fourth official is just there, the assistant referee is there looking at it, I’m fifteen yards away from it.

“I don’t know if he got influenced by the atmosphere at half time but I thought first half he was very good, second half it just turned.”

Toner’s crucial decision game fifteen minutes into the second half, after an off-the-ball incident between Abu Ogogo and Chris Maguire.

Garner had not seen the incident back, but said he had been informed that Ogogo had kicked out at the attacking midfielder.

The Bristol Rovers was left particularly frustrated as he felt his side were right in the game after a tactical switch at the break.

Sunderland eventually ran out very comfortable winners as their promotion surge continues.

“We're disappointed,” Garner said.

“The red card has obviously changed the game.

“We were resolute first half, had to ride our luck once or twice but we had a good spirit and organisation.

“We changed shape at half time and I thought we started the second half really well, nullified them and looked a threat.

“We're right in the game but the red card turns it.

“I haven't seen it back, at the time it looked like a clash, I don't know whether Abs has kicked out, that's what the referee has said he did. I'll have a look and see.

“If he has kicked out then it’s real out of character.

“We actually spoke at half-time about having a bit more discipline in our defending, we conceded too many needless free kicks that built pressure when we didn’t need to do it.

“We spoke about having calm heads in the second half and we looked good for fifteen minutes before the game turned.”