Southend United manager Phil Brown pointed the figure at ‘two poor decisions’ made by referee Ross Joyce after his side’s crushing 4-0 defeat to Northampton Town.
Goalless at half-time, Saturday’s encounter hinged on two key moments within six minutes of the restart.
First, a free-kick awarded to the Cobblers led to John-Joe O’Toole opening the scoring before Jason Demetriou saw red for hauling down Paul Anderson inside the penalty area.
Alex Revell netted the resulting spot-kick and Northampton proceeded to run away with victory, Matty Taylor and Anderson both adding to a one-sided final scoreline.
“I couldn’t see that coming, a 4-0 defeat, after the first-half,” said Brown afterwards.
“Two poor decisions five minutes after half-time have changed the game. The referee gave a free-kick for handball which he’s not in line with it and the ball ends up in the back of the net.
“Of course, I can blame my goalkeeper, he should have done better, but the referee has given the decision in the first minute after the restart and we’re 1-0 down.
“As for the second goal, I thought the rule had changed this season, that denying a goal scoring opportunity in the box is a penalty and only a yellow card. But he gives a red card and that’s game over after a battling first-half performance.
“We should have been 1-0 up in the first-half and within a few minutes of the second-half we’re 2-0 down and have got a red card.
“We’re chalk and cheese at the moment, we need to get some level of consistency to our performances. The first-half was good today, we stood up well too the opposition.
“They had played Manchester United in midweek and I thought we could take advantage and get something from the game.
“I’ve not looked at the table this season. The next game always the most important one, it has always been like that in my life and it will be in Southend United’s life.”