Lincoln boss Danny Cowley was aggrieved at ref Lee Mason after his side's long unbeaten run was ended by Carlisle United.

Cowley accused the top-flight official of an “arrogant” performance at Brunton Park and questioned the consistency of his decisions.

He hit out after the Imps' title march was put on hold by a first league defeat in 20 games.

Mike Jones hit a second-half winner for United after the League Two leaders' skipper Jason Shackell had been sent off after 29 minutes.

Cowley said: “I was disappointed with the referee’s performance. If we’re going to have Premier League referees at this level they’ve got to come and respect it.

“I thought it was an arrogant display if I’m honest.”

Cowley said Mason’s “manner” was questionable and felt the second yellow card shown to Shackell was “really soft”.

“At that point we were in a good place, with a good foothold, asking questions of Carlisle,” he said.

Cowley was further critical of Mason's decision to book Cian Bolger, as the ref ruled the Imps sub had taken the field too early when the visitors were trying to make a change following the red card.

He also said Imps wide man Harry Anderson was the victim of a “horrendous” late tackle by Gary Liddle in the closing stages. The Blues defender was booked.

On the ref he added: “We normally like the Premier League officials coming to this level but they’ve got to come with the right attitude and mentality.”

Cowley praised his team’s defensive display and also complimented United.

“Credit to Carlisle – they’re not a good team to go to 10 men against after half an hour on a big pitch on a boiling hot day,” he added.

“They’ve got a lot of good ball-handlers, number 10s who were good at combining.”