Styles steals the headlines at The Hawthorns

Last updated : 28 January 2009 By Wba-mad Editor

Goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez, Nemanja Vidic and a Cristiano Ronaldo brace during United's 5-0 victory were not enough to grab the headlines away from one man at The Hawthorns last night: referee, Rob Styles.

The Baggies started brightly with Borja Valero having a volley cleared off the line before Berbatov slotted past Scott Carson in the 22nd minute. Controversy followed however when Paul Robinson and Park Ji-Sung slid in for a tackle which resulted in the left-back being shown a straight red card for violent conduct - despite not lunging into the challenge or tackling with his studs showing.

It went from bad to worse for Albion when minutes later Carlos Tevez pounced on a Scott Carson error to give United a two goal lead at half-time.

Second-half strikes from Vidic and Ronaldo compounded Albion's misery but the talking point after the game was not about United's brilliance but the referee's seemingly one-sided and biased performance.

"I've seen the sending off incident many times on the laptop in the dressing room," Mowbray said.

"Mr Styles makes his decision.

"I can only comment from the angle I saw it initially.

"I didn't get Mr Styles' angle so I don't know what he saw.

"He thought it was worthy of a red card and we have to abide by that for the time being.

"From the replays I've seen, it looked like a pretty committed challenge from two players.

"I would say they both sort of slid three or four yards from the ball and collided and hit knees together.

"Their player sort of crumpled up and the referee came striding over and brandished his red card.

"You'll have experts all over the telly giving their opinions, some saying it was a red card, some saying it was a disgrace and some saying it was never a red card.

"It's all about opinion and the referee made his decision tonight.

"From his angle, he thought it was red card.

"But if the TV angles show he didn't leave the ground, he didn't show his studs and it was just an honest collision between two players going for the ball, then I'm pretty sure there will be a case to appeal it.

"Until we look at it in the cold light of day we won't know if we're going to appeal.

"We'll look at it today and decide."

Stand-in skipper Robinson was not the only player added to Styles' book with four other Albion players cautioned for dissent during a frustrating 90-minutes for Mowbray's men. However Mowbray refused his condemn his players for their reactions towards certain decisions and questioned Styles' egotistical nature at the full-time whistle.

"Football matches are at their best when the game is the spectacle, really, and you don't have the whole stadium almost finding the referee as the centre of attention," the Baggies boss continued.

"It's not a particularly nice spectacle when that happens.

"I don't know whether the officials find that amusing, good for them or disappointing for them.

"I'm not sure.

"There you go. That was the scenario tonight."