Eddie Youds has called for match officials to be made professional after Bradford City had two players sent off as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Ipswich Town.

Nigel Pepper and Youds were both dismissed late in the second half after receiving two yellow cards from referee Robert Styles, who the City defender also branded "a disgrace".

Both will miss City's game at promotion-seeking Middlesbrough a week on Saturday. The Bantams have now had seven players sent off this season - the highest in English football along with Second Division Gillingham - and could be facing possible action from the Football Association at the end of the season.

Youds said: "I thought the ref was a disgrace, to be honest. I think he thought it was a Sunday league game and he would get as involved as he could. I am very, very angry. He had his whistle out every two minutes and never let the game flow at all.

"Every half challenge he blew up for. It stopped the whole momentum of the game and we were definitely cruising to a victory when the ref stepped in. The thing that made it maddening was that every decision he made he had a big smile on his face. This is our livelihood and he cost us.

"That is why there is a big shout that you should have professional officials. Ex-pros should be coming into the game and given a good wage, like they do in cricket. You have amateurs refereeing the game and football is big business now. They are going to cost people an awful lot of money with their mistakes."

Along with the two dismissals, Styles also booked City's Craig Ramage and Jamie Lawrence in a game which no-one could ever describe as 'dirty'. Ipswich striker James Scowcroft was also booked after a foul on Youds, although during the game the Bantams defender had protested to the referee not to take the striker's name. However Youds was angry at what he saw as a lack of consistency from the referee.

"He seemed to be very consistent with our players but not with theirs. When he had booked him, Scowcroft then went through our keeper later. If he wants to be consistent then he should surely send Scowcroft off as well. But that was his problem all game.''

A dejected-looking Nigel Pepper was equally angry following his 79th minute dismissal. "The referee has had a nightmare from minute one so you knew he was going to do something like that," he said. "t. My first booking was harsh and the second one, I don't know, it is up to the referee. But I didn't think the first one was a foul.

"We are gutted with the result. We didn't play well in the first half, but second time round we showed a bit more and passed it very well. We need to be a bit stronger in situations when you have put your nose in front. Walshie did his bit and made a couple of good saves and then we thought we had ridden their storm. But then we gave away a sloppy goal and then the sendings off came."

City reserves ill be in action against Wrexham at Valley Parade tonight (7pm) in their first match for seven weeks. Among the senior players named in the side are two of Saturday's substitutes, Robert Steiner and Peter Beagrie.

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