Football: Stoke to lodge complaint about referee Atkinson in Newcastle drubbing

LONDON (AFP) - Stoke City are to lodge an official complaint about the performance of referee Martin Atkinson in their 5-1 Premier League loss to Newcastle United on Thursday.

Atkinson sent off both Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson, as well as Stoke boss Mark Hughes, in the space of five first-half minutes as Stoke collapsed after an early 1-0 lead.

Stoke's complaint also covers an apparent handball in the build-up to Loic Remy's equaliser while Hatem Ben Arfa appeared to carry the ball out of play before pulling it back for Yoan Gouffran to score.

While Hughes is facing a Football Association charge of improper conduct, Stoke chairman Peter Coates is planning to make his own grievances known.

"The performance of the referee and his officials was a disgrace, and we will certainly be complaining to the relevant authorities," he told Saturday's edition of the Daily Telegraph.

"We cannot accept what happened to us at Newcastle without making some form of representation. It's then up to the officials what they do, but we found it hugely disappointing because there were so many poor decisions.

"There was no common sense applied and I don't think either of the yellow cards for Glenn Whelan were deserved.

"For one of the goals, I could clearly see the ball was out of play, sitting high up in the stands.

"The sendings-off completely changed the game. We were playing ever so well up to the dismissals, leading 1-0, but when you're down to nine men, you've got no chance. It's not a case of sour grapes, we simply cannot accept what happened."