Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett explains three red cards in 2-0 defeat against Dover Athletic

Two Hartlepool United players and manager Craig Hignett were shown straight red cards in Saturday’s controversial defeat against Dover.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 6:00 am
Craig Hignett leaves the field after being shown a red card by referee Joe Johnson during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Dover Athletic at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 21st September 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

After a shocking alleged racist attack on the Dover players from the crowd threatened to abandon the game, both sets of players chose to continue. But what followed in the second half was an increasingly bizarre display of officiating which saw several key decisions go against Pools.

Hignett let his frustrations get the better of him as he was shown a red card after a supposedly clear-cut penalty was turned away by referee Joe Johnson. Ryan Donaldson was also sent off moments earlier and Nicky Featherstone completed the trio of dissent dismissals following Dover’s second goal.

While you can’t condone their actions, those who were at the game will understand why Hignett and his two players behaved in the manner they did.

“It was a joke, I’ve had two players sent off for saying, ‘it’s a disgrace’,” explained the United boss.

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“I don’t think they had an agenda because of what happened, I just think they’re bad.

“The game was stopped and I was out of my technical area because there was a clear penalty that wasn’t given and Ryan was sent off.

“The fourth official spoke to me in an arrogant manner and told me to get back in my box which I did. I told him not to speak to me like he did and he’s told the referee and that’s it.

“I’m struggling to come to terms with what I’ve seen, I’ve never seen anything like it.”