David Forde claims Millwall aren’t getting major decisions because officials are already reluctant to give the club’s players the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday produced a 17th defeat of a turbulent season for the Lions as Brighton returned to the south coast with all three points in the bag following David Lopez’s controversial 39th minute penalty winner.

The award of the spot-kick by referee Geoff Eltringham came after Jesse Lingard went to ground in dramatic fashion after a coming together with home skipper Danny Shittu, prompting Lions keeper Forde to suggest there is an agenda when it comes to officiating games at The Den.

“People think you are paranoid when you talk about Millwall and referees and decisions but referees come to The Den and are they told it is quite a hard place to referee and they end up going the other way,” the Irish international said.

“I think it is pre-meditated and their decisions are influenced before they even get here.”

On the award of Brighton’s penalty, Forde added: “I think it was a very soft one. I didn’t see any of their players appeal for it.

“I think he has had a bad touch, it has gone out of play, he has slowed down and Danny ran into the back of him.

“Then he (the referee) has just given that really soft penalty.

“The referee today was very poor really.”

Only the woodwork denied Jermaine Easter and the Lions an equaliser after the break but it was an all too familiar unwanted losing feeling for the keeper afterwards.

Forde said: “We can be very bitter I suppose but that’s the way it has been going the last few weeks.

“Every little mistake we seem to be getting punished for but I suppose on the positive that has to change, it can’t keep going like that.

“We will just keep doing the right things. We are playing very well, I thought we were the better side again today.

“It is hard when teams come here, they score, they sit back and we struggle to break them down.”

He added: “Jermaine has had a great chance but the defender has made a great block to get it on to the crossbar.

“I think if one goes in there is only one team that is going to win that game.

“But fair play to Brighton, I think they’ve had the most clean sheets this year so that has been the story of their success – they’ve been scoring the odd goal and keeping a lot of clean sheets.”

Although Millwall remain in serious relegation trouble following the arrival of Ian Holloway, Forde has already noticed a change in approach and believes it is only a matter of time before the Lions’ luck finally changes for the better.

He explained: “I’m not kicking the ball as long as much, I’m passing out from the back, we are making angles and we are playing a whole lot more.

“Whereas teams in the past at Millwall I suppose we would have created a lot of chances from corners and set pieces but wouldn’t have had a lot of possession.

“Now we seem to be dominating a lot of games with possession. That has certainly changed.

“He has instilled a lot into the team but we are getting there. We are nearly there and some team is going to be on the end of a big win one day.

“We’ve just got to keep persevering but we still have a lot of belief we will be OK.”

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