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  • By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Hayes: We should be thanking the guy (referee) for stepping in at the last minute

Emma Hayes Photo by Paul Lagan

Chelsea and Manchester United had a third choice referee on Sunday afternoon – and some of the decision-making from Jack Packman was dubious to say the least, but Chelsea boss Emma Hayes had a degree of sympathy for him.

She said: “I think you could argue that they (Manchester United) could have a red card and that it wasn't a penalty (for us).”

Hayes refers to Turner's scything challenge on Guro Reiten having already been yellow-carded – Packman only gave a foul, and the penalty awarded to them when Fran Kirby was bundled over by Millie Turner.

“I think if you pull a player back or pull it back for a foul, it's a red card, otherwise don't make it a foul,” she said. “So if they are then down to 10, there may be a different outcome – but I don't want to make it about the officials because we should be thanking the guy for stepping in at the last minute.

“The reality is that the official that was due to be on had tonsillitis, the second official had a broken body part, and the third one was drafted in. So it was tight on the officials when you come in under those circumstances.

“I think what the FA are doing right is that they have a pool of officials that are being scrutinised, much like the Premier League.”

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