Cotterill frustrated with ref justice

Jay Bothroyd and Ricardo Rocha tangle before the latter is sent off
Jay Bothroyd and Ricardo Rocha tangle before the latter is sent off
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Exasperated Steve Cotterill admitted he’s baffled by the decisions going against his team.

The Pompey boss feels his club’s controversial past could be weighing against them with match officials.

Cotterill has been searching for the reasons his men have been on the end of number disputed calls in recent games, after Ricardo Rocha was sent off against Cardiff.

Rocha walked after a head-to-head tussle with Jay Bothroyd in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat, with Bothroyd avoiding any punishment.

That followed on from Hayden Mullins’ red card against Coventry, with Rocha also walking it Reading a fortnight ago.

Pompey have now seen a total of eight red cards in this campaign.

But a look at the individual cases show many could be disputed.

Cotterill admitted he was aware his frustrations could sound like sour grapes but the evidence before him suggested otherwise.

He said: ‘I don’t want to be seen to be griping.

‘Some of these decisions may be our fault, actually.

‘But we have really, really been on the back end of some bad decisions.

‘We’re not getting anything at the moment off any referees.

‘We are less likely, I guess, when there are 20,000-plus Cardiff fans there as well.

‘I am just disappointed with it all.

‘You do wonder if there’s any undercurrent about what people think about Portsmouth because it just keeps happening.

‘Some of them have been shocking. Shocking! What else can it be? Can they be consistently bad? I don’t know.

‘We talk about inconsistency but we’ve been getting consistency – consistently bad decisions.

‘If you look at the incidents some of them are crazy.

‘If it’s the both of them in the Rocha incident, as people have been saying, why did Bothroyd get nothing?

‘I’m not advocating Jay Bothroyd getting booked but why not both of them?’

Cotterill questioned how Rocha came to have blood streaming from his face after his clash with Bothroyd.

He spoke to Bothroyd in a first-half stoppage and he was insistent Rocha was the aggressor.

The defender was livid as he left the pitch and will now be hit with a four-match ban which means his season is over.

Rocha insisted to Cotterill he did not butt Bothroyd in the aftermath of defeat.

Cotterill said: ‘Maybe you have to know Ricardo a bit but you have to wonder why he was so annoyed.

‘It’s a shame because he’s been playing well.

‘You are playing a team fighting to get into the Premier League with 10 men.

‘We were the better team with 11 men and passed it between the lines well. Even with 10 men we kept three up and two in the middle.

‘It felt like we’d be in the game still.

‘We were disappointed with the red card decision.

‘He’s got a bad gash down the side of his eye.

‘I’m not a connoisseur of head-butts but I don’t think you head-butt in that way. So I wonder how he got it?

‘When he got a red card I thought something might happen the other way. I need to look at it again, though, to see who was guilty.

‘Ricardo asked if I thought he’d head-butt him. I said no based on what I know of him.

‘He’s quite a placid guy, competitive, but quite placid.

‘He said he didn’t do it. If I find out otherwise he’ll be fined – heavily.’