Opposition view: Sutton boss Gray baffled by 'harsh' red card during Cobblers stalemate

Home skipper saw red for high challenge on Pinnock

By James Heneghan
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 6:15 pm
Matt Gray.
Matt Gray.

Sutton United manager Matt Gray said he was 'surprised' by the decision to send off Craig Eastmond during Saturday's goalless draw with Northampton.

Eastmond saw red for a high challenge on Mitch Pinnock with 16 minutes to play, albeit referee John Busby only made the decision after consulting with his fourth official.

That altered the complexion of the game as Sutton went from pushing for a breakthrough to defending deep with Cobblers instead looking for a winner.

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"It was a close game and a good 0-0," said Gray.

"You can see why they are up there because they have good players and they're a good side and they are certainly a threat.

"The first-half was high energy and very competitive but in the second I was really pleased with how we came out in the first 15 or 20 minutes.

"We had a couple of good chances, I think Will Randall's header is the best chance of the game, but what changed everything was the sending off.

"But we were solid and resolute and we didn't let them have anything clean-cut. It's a clean sheet and another point on the board."

On the red card, Gray added: "I'm standing close to the incident and I can hear the linesman talking to the referee on the mic and he hasn't even mentioned the tackle.

"The foul could have gone either way but I spoke to the referee at the end of the game and he says he hasn't seen anything and it was down to the fourth official.

"I spoke to their management team, who I respect and like, and they thought it was a red card, but I look at the reaction of all their players and the referee and it didn't seem one.

"I haven't seen it back. I will shortly but it looked harsh to me and I was surprised at the time."