Upson rap for under-fire ref

MATTHEW UPSON has rapped rookie referee Stuart Attwell for losing control of West Ham s bad-tempered clash with Wigan last week, writes Jonathan Clegg. Attwell, who became the youngest referee in Premier League history this season, brandished two red card

MATTHEW UPSON has rapped rookie referee Stuart Attwell for losing control of West Ham's bad-tempered clash with Wigan last week, writes Jonathan Clegg.

Attwell, who became the youngest referee in Premier League history this season, brandished two red cards and made seven bookings as the battle for a European spot ended in outrage and acrimony at the JJB Stadium.

The 26-year-old sent off Carlton Cole for an innocuous challenge in the first half - only minutes after the striker had capped a sweeping move by curling home the only goal of the game.

But Attwell appeared to lose control after the break, dismissing Lee Cattermole for a violent lunge on Scott Parker and showing yellow cards to five other players, including Lucas Neill for another dangerous challenge.


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Blunder referee Attwell has made a series of high-profile cock-ups this season, most notably when he awarded Reading a 'ghost goal' by ruling that Watford's John Eustace had put the ball into his own net - when it actually flew four yards wide.

Upson believes that the official, who was fast-tracked to the top flight by the Football Association, needs more experience before handling another Premier League match.

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He said: "I'm not sure whether it's a good decision to throw a referee that inexperienced into a game of that kind of ferocity.

"He was a bit keen to give bookings early on when he could have let things go - and then maybe not created the problems we had as we went on.

"Age is important because you do get experience with age and, yes, referees need to progress, just as players do.

"But this was quite a big-scale game, a Premier League game, to learn the ropes a little bit."

The England defender was also enraged by Wigan's over-aggressive approach to the game, which could have resulted in a serious injury following Cattermole's ugly challenge on Parker.

"The lads were a little bit incensed with a couple of the tackles that went in and studs were raised," said Upson.

"Cattermole went in aggressively and he didn't win the ball. He cleaned Scott out but didn't touch the ball, so the referee didn't have much of an option.

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