CONTROVERSY reigned on a dramatic weekend for Steel City rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United with two major post-match talking points.
The omission of striker Fernando Forestieri from the Owls’ squad in the 1-1 home draw with QPR occupied the thoughts of Wednesdayites, with the 27-year-old’s future at Hillsborough looking increasingly in question following a training ground bust-up with team-mate Sam Winnall.
Forestieri was disciplined by the club after the incident last week and his latest actions are likely to fuel speculation that the Owls might look to sell the Argentine before the transfer window deadline following previous moments of controversy during his time at S6.
Incensed Blades manager Chris Wilder hit out at referee Peter Bankes and linesman Paul Hodskinson after his side suffered their first defeat in 20 matches in a narrow 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough – with the visitors seeing a stoppage-time strike from Jack O’Connell dramatically ruled out.
Hodskinson immediately raised a flag for an offence against O’Connell.
But replays appeared to show that he was neither in an offside position nor had committed a clear foul.
Following the final whistle, crowd trouble occurred outside the Riverside Stadium between rival sets of supporters after some earlier clashes in the ground following the ruling out of O’Connell’s strike.
While Forestieri was dropped from the Owls’ squad, Winnall was afforded rather more positive headlines after coming on from the bench to fire the equaliser against Rangers.
After the game, the former Barnsley striker remained tight-lipped over the training ground incident, claiming “everything had been sorted”.
He said: “What happens in training between players and staff stays in training.
“At the end of the day, everything has been sorted, it is an internal matter, and, obviously, I cannot comment on what happened.
“Fans have to realise there has to be a level of confidentiality in the squad. Lots of things happen in training and dressing rooms, and that happens at every club.”
Wilder categorically felt his Blades side were “robbed” of a perfectly legitimate goal in stoppage-time on Teesside and pledged to be damning in his verdict when submitting his observations to refereering officials.
Wilder, whose side visit Cardiff City tomorrow evening, said: “It was just a ridiculous decision and it cost us. I have lots of disappointed players, staff and a fantastic travelling support who feel that we have been robbed of a point.
“I don’t want that to happen to us again. I want to make sure, first and foremost, that a linesman gets a decision right.
“We go to all these FA meetings with the Football League and PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) and if you don’t go, you get fined ten grand, and there’s new initiatives about key decisions and key match decisions...
“There is definitely a report going in about a key match decision in the ‘93rd’ minute today.
“You cannot get those decisions wrong, in my point of view.
“I think it was just reward for us to get something from the game and that has been taken away from us by a very, very poor decision.
“Getting beat is difficult and we are not used to it. We understand the majority of our wins have been in the division below, but it’s a proud record. For it to go like that in that manner that it did, especially with the way we played in the second half. I thought we showed a lot more belief.”
Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen had to settle for a point in his first Championship home match in charge in a 0-0 draw against Preston, but believes that a haul of four points from his first two league matches at the helm is a satisfactory one.
A bumper crowd of just under 33,000 saw Leeds fail to take advantage after Preston were reduced to 10 men for the final half-hour when Ben Pearson was dismissed after picking up his second yellow card.
Christiansen said: “If you told me that in the first two games I would take four points, I would be satisfied. But in the first game at home, I would have liked to take the three points.
“When you play 25 (plus) minutes with one player more and create opportunities, you should not be happy with one point, but this is football.”
Barnsley suffered their second successive league loss in a 2-1 home reverse to Ipswich, with the Reds not having won a home league game since January 21.
Reports: Pages 2-5