Neil Warnock labelled referee Andy Madley “a Sunday trainee” following his Cardiff side’s 3-2 defeat at Watford on Saturday.
Warnock felt Madley should have shown Hornets striker Troy Deeney a yellow card after he collided with goalkeeper Neil Etheridge while sliding for the ball in the second half.
“I cannot understand why we had Andre Marriner as the fourth official, and a referee who has not refereed a game all season (as the ref),” Warnock told BBC Sport.
“Unless it’s because we are Cardiff and they say we can have a Sunday trainee or somebody?”
Madley was refereeing his first Premier League match of the season, having made his debut in the top-flight in March when he took charge of Watford’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth.
The 35-year-old has predominantly refereed in the Championship this season, with 100 Championship matches and plenty more Football League and FA Cup games to his name.
“Troy should have been booked,” said Warnock. “I don’t understand why we have to be the experimental side.
“Is it because they feel sorry for us? Or feel we are not important?
“You cannot tell me Marriner would not have give Deeney a card of some sort. It was a terrible tackle. We do not queue up and surround the referee, it upsets me when I see other teams get away with things.
“He (Deeney) could have pulled out early doors or not put his studs up. It warranted a card. I am disappointed to have an inexperienced referee, (but) at least it gives him practice and is great for his assessors.”
Three fine goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Jose Holebas and Domingos Quinas saw Watford cruise into a comfortable lead, with their opponents proving no match for the Hornets for much of the game.
But with 10 minutes remaining at Vicarage Road, Junior Hoilett pulled back a seeming consolation goal before Bobby Reid added a second to give Cardiff a sniff of an unlikely point.