MARK Cooper was once again frustrated by the quality of officiating on show as his Swindon Town side slipped up at Carlisle United.

Referee Nigel Miller became the pantomime villain amongst both sets of supporters at Brunton Park with a series of bizarre decisions, as Gary Madine’s 37th-minute strike settled the game in favour of the home side.

After the match, Cooper – who has been critical of refereeing standards throughout the League One season – told the Advertiser of his frustrations at some of the calls made by Miller.

He said: “I just told him. He was up there with Preston (at home).

“It was up there with the worst I’ve seen.

“He gave a free-kick when Alex Smith kicked the ball out of play right in front of the fourth official.

“The fourth official is laughing, telling him he made a mistake and he’s saying ‘no, that’s a foul’.

“I said to the fourth official ‘what’s the point in you being there, you might as well go and sit in the changing room’.

“It happens every week now. You end up laughing about it and trying not to let it get to you too much.”

Town’s players were left to contemplate their first defeat in five outings during a six-hour coach trip back to Wiltshire on Saturday night but Cooper felt that experience would benefit his young squad.

When asked what the overriding emotion was in the wake of the loss, he said: “Frustration because we should have won the game.

“It’s part of their education.

“They have to learn.

“Next time they come here they’ve got to make sure they win.

“They had enough chances and enough opportunities.”