The Leicester manager, Nigel Pearson, railed against "gutless" match officials, whom he accused of being "totally disinterested in what's right and what's wrong", after the referee, Anthony Taylor, awarded Nottingham Forest a penalty, denying the home side a victory in a feisty derby between promotion rivals.
He told Sky TV: "It shouldn't be a penalty, I don't give a monkey's what your pundits say. He [Zak Whitbread] got the ball. The referee was in a good position. If the referee can't get that right or if your assistant hasn't got the guts to give it, it's about time these people became accountable. We've had this taken away from us by other people who can't do their jobs properly."
In the post-match press conference Leicester's irate manager expanded on his views. Asked if he had approached Taylor after the game to discuss the incident, Pearson said: "I'm not going to waste my time even attempting to talk to people who are totally disinterested in what's right and what's wrong. They have a team of four people out there, they need to utilise the four of them. For me it's laughable."
Pearson, in his second stint as manager at the club, criticised the tradition that protects referees from the media, calling on the establishment to promote "transparency and accountability". "The one thing that's missing is any chance of seeing them being visible to explain what they do. Until we get to that juncture we're going to miss a trick," he said.
He also reignited the debate over technology. Remembering his time at Newcastle, working under Sam Allardyce, Pearson recalled how they used monitors in the dugout to inform their view of the action. He pleaded for the game to reconsider its stance and modernise. "The technology's been [available] for a long time. Does the fourth official need to be talking to me about time-keeping? No. Give them a worthwhile job, or don't bother. We need to improve the game, we need to improve the decision-making process. I'm not anti-establishment or anti the officials but they need to help each other."
Sean O'Driscoll said that he had spoken to Taylor after the game, who had reviewed the tape and stood by his decision. "It's a difference of opinion," the Forest manager said. "That's football."
Asked to respond to the likelihood that he will be fined by the FA for his outburst, Pearson laughed derisively. "If I get fined for what's happened today out there then there's something seriously wrong with the game."
Leicester had their own penalty claim after Chris Cohen stuck out his arm in the area but Pearson snorted at the suggestion that he might discuss a penalty appeal of his own, saying, "Let's not even bother."
Pearson's men had taken an early lead through the Forest defender Elliott Ward's own goal, a heavy deflection from a strike by Lloyd Dyer. But Forest fought back on the counterattack to great effect – showing off the lovely passing game that O'Driscoll's teams have become known for. Cohen released the Ireland international Simon Cox to set up Adlène Guedioura, waiting in the area, and the Algeria midfielder sent in a thunderbolt to level the scores.
With half an hour gone, Leicester took the lead once more through a genius touch from David Nugent, the former England international wheeling away from the goalmouth with a huge grin on his face having deftly nicked the ball out of the air as the Forest captain, Danny Collins, attempted to make the block. But just as it looked as though Leicester had tied up the win, Forest were given the controversial penalty and Cox slotted home to level the scores once more.
O'Driscoll said his side had been lucky to go home with a point, describing the penalty as harsh. But while he agreed with Pearson on the decision, he defended the referee's right to avoid journalists' questions. "The problem with referees is that they get treated so unfairly. He'll be targeted because he's an individual. I've got 14 individuals who have not performed they way they should have done but no one will get targeted as an individual, they'll be targeted as a team. So I can see both sides of it."