Steve Bruce believes referee Stuart Attwell, the youngest in the top flight at just 26, has been fast tracked too soon. Attwell had just one season refereeing in the Football League before being promoted last summer and he awarded the infamous "ghost goal" in the Watford and Reading match earlier this season.
However, the Latics boss claims he should have dismissed Lucas Neill for a robust challenge.
"I feel a bit sorry for him because in my opinion Mr Attwell is not ready to step up to the plate," he said.
"The game was ruined as a spectacle. Carlton Cole shouldn't have been sent off. Referee, use a bit of common sense.
"It had the makings of a decent game but how he sends someone off in the first half for something as petulant as that I don't know.
"Lucas Neill should have been off the pitch for his tackle, which was horrific, but because Mr Attwell has put himself under pressure from sending off Cole in the first half when the major decision needs to be made, he hasn't made it.
"That is the one we want to stamp out because that tackle is a horror tackle.
"I have no complaints about Cattermole, he was stupid and silly but he was incensed - and he has a good right to be."