Craig Hignett opens up about bizarre opening against Wrexham which saw Hartlepool United start with 10 men

Wrexham may have ended the game with 10 men but it was Hartlepool United who started a man down following a bizarre opening minute which left manager Craig Hignett raging.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 08:45 am
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Wrexham at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Monday 26th August 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News & Sport Ltd)

Pools would go on to win the game fairly comfortably in the end as braces from Liam Noble and Gime Toure saw them claim a much needed first three points of the season at Victoria Park.

But things didn't get off to the best of starts for the hosts as they started the game with 10 men with Gus Mafuta being late out of the tunnel. The midfielder rushed out of the tunnel and straight onto the field with the game already underway and was immediately booked for his trouble.

When asked to shed light on the situation, Hignett said: "We started the game with 10 men which is schoolboy almost and it took me 15, 20 minutes to calm down after that!

"Your combative midfielder goes on, how they started the game without him and didn't realise he wasn't there, I don't know!

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"Then the officials book him straight away for going on the pitch.

"If I'm the fourth official, I'm sending him on straight away to cover up the mistake they had all made.

"To book him rubs salt in the wound and then Gus got pulled back for a foul later and he could have been off which would have changed the game.

"What happened was the officials didn't count and the referee got the wrong information off his linesman who said there was 11 on, which there obviously wasn't.

"Gus didn't have his GPS so ran back to get his GPS to put it on then when he comes out the game has already kicked off so he must be thinking, what's going on?

"But I won't hammer the officials too much because we had kick-off and for our lads not to go, where's Gus? That's even worse and even more unbelievable.

"I was telling the lads, you should have told the ref to hang on because Gus isn't on.

"So you can't lay the blame at the ref's door all the time because it's hard enough."