Linfield manager David Jeffrey voiced his anger in the aftermath of Saturday’s Premiership battle at Seaview.
The Blues manager lost experienced defender William Murphy with concussion while substitute Albert Watson sustained a head injury following an off-the-ball clash with Jordan Owens – which resulted in the Crusaders striker being shown a straight red card.
Blues boss Jeffrey hit out at the home side’s tactics, suggesting some of the challenges crossed the line of sporting battle.
“I have a centre back who is concussed and out of the Boxing Day game,” Jeffrey raged.
“I have another defender showing a massive bump on his head.
“Albert was blatantly elbowed off the ball – that is what he has told me. There was a coming together and an elbow was used.
“That’s not caused by a ‘flailing arm’. I am all for the physical side of football, but there is a line that has to be drawn.
“Concussion is not part of the game.”
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter defended Owens following the striker’s dismissal.
Owens will now miss the massive top-of-the-table derby clash with Cliftonville at Solitude on Boxing Day.
“There is a huge game going on around you, and you are watching various things,” Baxter said.
“I can only ask my player for his honesty. Jordan is a great boy and doesn’t have malice in him. I asked him what happened, and he told me he was only jumping for the ball.
“He was pushed around all day and there were elbows flying around all afternoon, but we don’t complain about that.
“Jordan is gutted. He misses Boxing Day which will be the biggest game of the season,” Baxter added.
“He doesn’t deserve to miss out, but that’s the way it is. I can only manage a football team and motivate people to play.
“It is out of my control when referees come to our ground and make decisions like this.
“We got a decision here against Coleraine, and we lost two points we shouldn’t have lost. We went to the Oval and didn’t get a blatant penalty kick and dropped two points. And then this happens to us today.
“I can only manage a team, these referees are professional but today it took two assistants to make the big decisions.”