Sheffield United manager Micky Adams was far from happy with the referee’s decisions to send off Darius Henderson and Lee Williamson during the 3-0 defeat at Watford.
Danny Graham put the Hornets 1-0 up in the 10th minute before Darius Henderson and Lee Williamson were dismissed in the 28th and 34th minutes.
Martin Taylor and Ross Jenkins then netted second-half goals to secure a comfortable win over the relegation battling Blades.
“I’ve obviously got to be very careful about what I say,” said Adams.
“But I’ve reviewed the footage of the incidents and I think there’s a case for both players to feel a little bit harshly treated.
“I think the referee left himself with nowhere to go (for the sending off of Henderson) after the first booking.
“I don’t think it was a yellow-card offence. I think Darius’ reputation, particularly here, has gone before him.
“And then the second one, I will defend Darius here and I’m upset that one of their players [Lee Hodson] has been stretchered off - I hope he’s OK, I hope he’s well and not seriously injured - but quite clearly Darius is watching the ball and as far as he’s concerned, after the header, he thinks it’s a goal-scoring opportunity and I think he’s right.
“I don’t see a centre forward pulling out of that challenge at all, so I don’t think there’s any intent on his part to cause the boy any harm.”
Speaking of Williamson’s sending off, Adams said: “If they’re going to send players off for that it’s ridiculous. It’s a booking. Straight red? Violent conduct? I’m not sure about that.”
On the rest of the game, Adams added: “We were 1-0 down before we went down to nine men and I’m disappointed with the goal that we conceded.
“I think one of my defenders will look back at that behind his hands but as far as the contest was concerned we’ll never know how good Watford are because it’s impossible for me to judge on what we’ve seen.
The Blades went behind to Graham’S header from close range.
Henderson was then sent off for the visitors after being given a second yellow following a clash with Hodson.
The defeat left left the visitors six points from safety with nine games remaining and part of the reason behind their troubles appeared after 10 minutes.
Blades defender Neill Collins horribly mis-kicked a clearance which saw him volley the ball goalward and, even though keeper Steve Simonsen prevented an own goal with a reflex save, Graham was left with a simple header to put Watford in front.
Henderson, making his first start since April 2010 after a hamstring injury, and Williamson were playing against their former club but did not last long.
Striker Henderson was booked for a late challenge on John Eustace before being dismissed for a second yellow when he also caught Hodson as he closed down a clearance after 28 minutes.
After Hodson was stretchered off after lengthy treatment, Williamson was also given his marching orders when he felled Lloyd Doyley with the Watford defender clean through on goal after 34 minutes.
Watford took until just before the hour mark to make their numerical advantage count as, after Simonsen tipped an Adam Thompson header on to the crossbar, Taylor was on hand to slot the loose ball home.
Substitute Jenkins grabbed a third for the home side when he powered in a cross from Eustace.
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