Refereeing mistakes ease the way for United – Manchester United 5 Wigan Athletic 0

Phil Dowd

Phil Dowd - A Manchester United fan?

The scoreline may suggest an easy win for United but it was two catastrophic mistakes by referee Phil Dowd that tipped the game in United’s favour.

United had taken the lead through Park Ji-Sung but Wigan were starting to get a foothold in the game. The first refereeing mistake meant Wigan would have a mountain to climb if they were to get anything from the game. Conor Sammon was harshly adjudged to have elbowed Michael Carrick in the face, referee Dowd must have been to only person in the ground to think it was a sending off offence. It was clear to everyone that the contact was a hand not an elbow and that it was accidental.

This incident was in stark contrast to events at the DW Stadium last season when Wigan’s James McCarthy was blatantly elbowed in the face by Wayne Rooney and referee Mark Clattenburg didn’t send off Rooney. It really does seem that the referees find it easier to give the big teams in the Premier League that extra bit of help when they are playing  teams like Wigan.

Before the sending off Wigan had been creating chances and Ronnie Stam in particular was getting behind the United back line and putting in some telling crosses, Sammon nearly got on the end of one and the ball zipped dangerously across the six yard box for another.  But just before half time United doubled their lead with an excellent finish by Dimitri Berbatov.

Roberto Martinez reshuffled his troops at half time because he knew it would be a difficult second half. He decided to take off midfielder Mo Diame and bring on the offensive Franco Di Santo, clearly hoping that Di Santo and Victor Moses could occupy the United defence and quell the onslaught.

However, both Moses and Di Santo were not retaining the ball well enough and United increased their lead when Berbatov collected a pass from Valencia and fired past Al Habsi.

Valencia then made it 4-0 with a low drive across Al Habsi after a corner was cleared straight to Carrick.

Then came the second major refereeing mistake of the day as Antolin Alcaraz fouled Park Ji-Sung just outside the box and Phil Dowd pointed to the penalty spot. Alcaraz was incredulous, but Dowd wanted five!

The Bulgarian then granted Dowd his wish, while ensuring his own hat-trick.

After the game Dowd went for a glass of champagne with Sir Alex to celebrate.

Well maybe he didn’t. But it does seem as though when playing against the might of Manchester United we also have to endure unequal refereeing that makes it near impossible to get a result.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Antolin Alcaraz, Antonio Valencia, Conor Sammon, Manchester United, Park Ji-Sung, Phil Dowd, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Refereeing mistakes ease the way for United – Manchester United 5 Wigan Athletic 0

  1. Andymanc says:

    A rather unbalanced piece of journalism there.While it’s true that the sending off was a very poor decision by the referee who was over 30 yards away from the incident,you neglected to mention the clear penalty not given to United for a foul on Hernandez beforehand.

    Wigan were competing before the sending off but United,playing in second gear,were hardly on the rack.Lindegaard hardly had a save to make,even before the sending off.The penalty that was given,another wrong decision,was when the game was well and truly over with,so had no bearing on the outcome.

    I agree with your point about referees and the big sides though,I feel that they take the easy option of giving the benefit of the doubt to the giants far too often.The overall standard of refereeing in this country is at an all-time low right now.

    One thing I’m pretty sure about is that Wigan will survive this year,there are far worse sides than them about.

    • ianhaspinall says:

      Hi Andy,
      The point of the piece was to demonstrate that is very difficult for any club to win against United when you are playing against the referee as well as an excellent team. The main points, which you agree with, are that the sending off changed the game and that the big teams always get the decisions in their favour.
      Surely it is time for the Premier League to address this issue so that we have a more fair refereeing system.
      Good luck for the rest of the season, I’m sure United will run City close.

  2. abey says:

    i made just d same comment about how d ref killd d match in favour of man u & a friend of mine who didnt watch d match said i was being sentimental. 2 major mistakes all in favour of man u. wigan shd first of all request an overturn of d red card & posibl dt d horror referee b punishd. what a shame of a ref!

  3. Stan says:


    Come on, did you expect anything else against Utd – Big clubs get big decisions it was ever thus, and utd tend to get more than most. However it is about time Wigan stopped lying down and letting utd walk all over them, twice a season, every season.

    • ianhaspinall says:

      Hi Stan,
      As I said in my reply above, isn’t it about time that the Premier League addressed the issue of poor refereeing and a bias towards the big teams. Just because it happens, it doesn’t mean we have to accept it.
      Wigan will always strive to beat United but playing against the referees as well as a very good team makes it doubly difficult. However, we will beat them one day soon.

  4. peter says:


    referee makes it easy for everton, are everton a big club ? is howard webb the best referee in england ?
    these things happen far too often against the less ” glamorous” teams, you will never get anything at old trafford, referees want autographs and signed shirts for their kids not a roasting from ferguson.
    never changes and never will.


    • ianhaspinall says:

      Beg to differ on this one. The premier league need to address the issue of poor refereeing and bias towards the big teams. As I said to Stan, just because it happens doesn’t mean we have to accept it.

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