Belfast Telegraph

Martinez hits out at Mason

Everton boss Roberto Martinez was critical of referee Lee Mason after the Toffees' 1-0 home loss to Stoke and hinted he felt the official should be dropped.

Martinez hit out at Mason's decisions to only yellow-card Jonathan Walters for pulling back Leighton Baines in the first half and then award a penalty to the visitors moments later, having adjudged James McCarthy to have fouled Bojan Krkic.

Walters had appeared to be the last man in the first incident, while the contact on Bojan, who converted the spot-kick himself, looked minimal in the second.

Mason saw the red card he showed Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor last Saturday subsequently rescinded this week.

And asked if whether he thought, given the Agbonlahor episode, that Mason should have been allowed to take charge of the Everton-Stoke game, Martinez said: "I don't know, that's not my call - I can only make a call on his performance today, and it was very disappointing.

"It was for everyone to see and maybe the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the referees' body) need to make a decision about that."

Martinez also made reference after the Boxing Day loss to the Potters to another incident from earlier in the season where he felt Mason had failed to correctly punish a player in a last-man scenario.

Speaking about Everton's 1-1 draw at Sunderland in November and a foul from Connor Wickham on Seamus Coleman that resulted in a penalty but no card, the manager said: "It is a real bad sign to see the same referee making two mistakes applying the same rule - that is a worry.

"Against Sunderland, it is a penalty, he is the last man, and it should have been a red card.

"Today, if you give a free-kick, it is difficult to justify that that is not a goalscoring situation. So that is a real disappointment."

Martinez argued the Walters-Baines incident should have been "nothing or a red card".

And regarding the penalty decision involving his fellow Spaniard Bojan, Martinez said: "The penalty, I understand it - clearly I know that culture well, that Catalan culture.

"You have been brought up in a way so that you force the referee to make a decision.

"But I don't think there is enough contact for it to be a penalty.

"I can understand why he gave it, but when you look at the replay, both feet go off the ground with no contact and you can understand the striker looking for a decision.

"I can see why he gave it because the two bodies come together - the referee makes a decision.

"But then if he doesn't give the red card, because he is not sure, I don't understand why he gives the penalty - he cannot be sure it is a penalty. So the lack of consistency is what disappoints me."

The Stoke match - 12th-placed Everton's seventh league defeat of the season - was disappointing in several ways for Martinez, with his side failing to make the most of their chances.

Also, several of his players suffered injuries in what was a physical contest on a cold, wet day on Merseyside.

Skipper Phil Jagielka and goalkeeper Tim Howard each had to come off at half-time due to ankle and calf problems respectively.

They are doubts for Sunday's trip to Newcastle, along with Jagielka's fellow centre-back John Stones and winger Kevin Mirallas, both of whom were back in the team after injury but picked up knocks.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes, whose side have replaced Everton in 11th spot, has fitness concerns himself, with Bojan substituted in the second half due to a back problem and set to be assessed ahead of the Potters' home clash with West Brom on Sunday.

Hughes is hopeful the forward and skipper Ryan Shawcross, who sustained a head injury which saw him get stitches and don a head bandage, will be both available.

As for the incidents Martinez had been flagging up, Hughes, perhaps unsurprisingly, took a contrasting view to his counterpart.

The Welshman said: "Having seen it again, yes, Jon pulls Baines back, and it is definitely a yellow card, but I don't think it is a red, because it is too far away - you can't ever say that is a clear goalscoring opportunity.

"One of our defenders was getting back. There was a lot that had to happen. So I think the referee got that right.

"Then Bojan made a real positive run into the box, and in those circumstances, defenders know they have to be very careful. There was contact - he has clipped his back leg, which has caused Bojan to go down.

"I thought it was a really good decision by the referee - as I would."

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