Hartlepool set to appeal Liam Donnelly red

Liam Donnelly is sent off at Barnet
Liam Donnelly is sent off at Barnet

Hartlepool United are set to appeal the red card awarded to Liam Donnelly.

The Northern Ireland Under-21 skipper was dismissed in the 68th minute of Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Barnet’s The Hive.

I’m fed up of talking about incompetent referees.

Donnelly was adjudged to have brought down League Two top-scorer John Akinde in the area and a penalty was awarded by referee Nicholas Kinseley.

But not only that, Donnelly was then given his marching orders for the offence.

While this kind of decision may not have caused a stir last season, new Football Association rules state that Kinseley should not have shown the 20-year-old a red, if he made a clear attempt to play the ball.

And the word from within the club is that Donnelly did make such an attempt.

In fairness, one look at the replay, penalty or no penalty, proves that fact conclusively.

With that in mind the Mail has learned that Pools will today put in an appeal to the FA against ref Kinseley’s call at the weekend.

Their deadline to do so is lunchtime today.

The understanding is that while the decision itself, which ended up turning the game on its head, was disappointing enough - this obviously cannot be changed.

But the feeling is that Donnelly’s red, which would see him miss the FA Cup clash with Stamford on Sunday before heading off on international duty, should be downgraded to yellow.

Manager Craig Hignett was angry at the call on the day.

“I’m fed up of talking about incompetent referees,” he said.

“We were in complete control, we bossed it, quietened everyone down.

“It’s all about referees and referring performances, no on who witnessed the game at the ground can say he refereed it correctly.”

Hignett has even gone as far to suggest that the referee was making things up as he was going along.

The manager claims that he spoke to striker Padraig Amond after the event and accepted he’d made a mistake.

But when asked by Hignett after the game to expalin the call, he suggested Donnelly made no attempt to play the ball.

“The double jeopardy rule comes in - he’s made it up by the way,” said Hignett.

“After he spoke to Podge, he’d accepted he made a mistake and then made it up after.”

Hignett continued: “I don’t care if it’s a penalty or not, I thought it wasn’t the lad goes down easily and he’s 6ft 4 and Liam is 5 11.

“To give a penalty and send him off is ridiculous and you are under the cosh. The decision changes the game against us from a referee I felt was really poor.”

Asked specifically about the right to appeal, Hignett said: “We can appeal. It’s a genuine attempt to get the ball we are talking a six foot four 15 / 16 stone lad and it’s incredible. The referee just lost the plot and was out of his depth.”

Rather than solely focus on the bad call by the man in the middle, Hignett accepts, yet again, Pools were far from good enough defensively.

“Two set pieces again have cost us,” he said.

“If we can find a way of losing a game we do it.

“We were two up and cruising, their heads were going it was a case of how many we score.

“Then a ridiculous refereeing decision, a fluke of a goal and then we are up against it.

“They get a way back into it and we get ten men. For me, the referee was shocking all day.”

“With 11 men on we are in control and they weren’t getting close to us. They are a handful at set-pieces and to concede two goals from then, albeit with ten men, after talking about it and telling players what to do it’s astonishing.”