Notts County boss, Kevin Nolan, leapt to the defence of Shola Ameobi and insisted the striker is “no cheat”.
Ameobi was denied what looked to be a clear penalty in the last minute of the Magpies’ 2-2 draw at Crewe, when he was brought down by goalkeeper Ben Garratt.
But referee Gavin Ward incredibly booked the striker for simulation, which denied Notts the chance to win their fifth successive league game.
Nolan said he was “bewildered” by the decision, but said the officials only had to look at Ameobi’s character to know that he was not looking to gain an advantage by throwing himself to ground.
“This is another thing about that decision, they have to know the player,” said Nolan.
“Shola is an honest player and plays the game in the right way.
“I don’t think he’s been sent off and he very rarely gets yellow cards.
“He’s not a cheat so I don’t know really what to say because I don’t want to get into too much trouble.”
The controversial decision denied Notts the chance to rubberstamp their Football League safety in a game marred by bad defending.
Adam Campbell had opened the scoring after just nine minutes when he struck from the edge of the box after Crewe’s James Jones had given the ball straight to him.
But a howler from Haydn Hollis enabled Chris Dagnall to level as he raced clear to beat Adam Collin.
In the second half, Notts went back in front when another mistake in possession allowed Jon Stead to tee-up Michael O’Connor who steered a fine finish into the far corner.
But when Notts surrendered the ball themselves and were hit on the counter, Dagnall’s deflected shot fell into the path of Jones who atoned for his earlier error.
Reflecting on the game, Nolan said he was disappointed with the goals his side had conceded in what was the club’s first draw away from home this season.
“I am disappointed not to have won the game,” he said.
“I said to the players that I am not disappointed in the referee, but disappointed with the manner of the two goals we conceded.
“We have gifted them two goals and if we had have eradicated those mistakes then we would have relatively made it an easy day.
“I thought some of our play was really good in difficult conditions. It was very windy and the ball was pinging around.
“I thought we would have been worthy of the win had it come but I am gutted it’s a 2-2 draw.
“But how good is it that we are talking about that instead of coming away saying ‘we’ve had another loss and we’ve got a lot of work to do’.
“Mistakes are going to happen but unfortunately we’ve had two of them happen in the same game.
“It gave them a lift because apart from that I felt we were in control of the game.”