SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper was left to lament the state of refereeing in the Football League after being frustrated by whistleblower Tim Robinson during his side’s 1-0 defeat to Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

Jonathan Grounds scored a 73rd-minute winner for Oldham, who came up against a lifeless Town outfit on a miserable afternoon at the County Ground. Though Cooper didn’t use what he branded an “awful” performance by Robinson as an excuse for the loss he did mention how disappointed he has been by the calibre of officiating this term, blasting a string of “sub-standard” displays from the men in black.

He said: “I thought the referee was very, very poor again – baffling decisions – but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. For both teams he was awful and it’s worrying.”

When pushed by the Advertiser to clarify what he meant by “worrying”, Cooper agreed that there has been a trend of unconvincing refereeing up and down the Football League.

“It’s worrying for me because there’s a blatant penalty on Michael Smith in the box. You’re not allowed to get your arms round somebody’s body and stop them getting the ball. That’s a penalty,” he said.

“In the first minute we had a corner and between them they can’t even get that right. I feel at the moment, and I’m not using it as an excuse, that the referees we’ve been getting are not good enough.

“It’s for both managers, both feeling that the refereeing is sub-standard. I don’t know whether it’s the training they’re getting, I couldn’t tell you.

“As soon as I say what I really think I get fined and get banned. The referees will think they’ve had a good game because the four of them will get together and tell each other how good they were and go home singing and dancing and not have a care in the world. There has to be something – in any other job, if you do something wrong you get punished.

“There has to be some sort of rule that if they’re so bad they can’t referee for two weeks or something like that. We give them ratings but if you give below a certain make you have to put in a massive report.”