Any suggestion that Hartlepool United may face some form of sanction over the late change in defence at Bristol Rovers looks nothing more than a storm in a notebook
Matthew Bates was listed to start at centre-half for Pools at the Memorial Stadium. only to pull out minutes before kick-off with back trouble.
Pools moved Scott Harrison up from the bench into the starting XI.
But the late change confused more than just this reporter and members of the press benches.
Rovers coach John Ward approached the fourth official MIDWAY into the first half when one of his players complained the number he was supposed to be marking at set-pieces, number six (Bates) was NOT on the field.
There followed long ‘discussions’ between Pools boss Craig Hignett, first-team coach Curtis Fleming, kit manager Marty Brown, Ward, the fourth official and referee Lee Swaby.
Hignett said Brown had informed the ref before kick-off and everything was “sorted out.”
The Pools boss said: “It’s comical really.
“When it was obvious Matty could not play, I asked Marty Brown to go and tell the referee.
“I saw him do that and then at the first corner, the Bristol lot were waving their arms about asking where Bates was.
“They went to the fourth official who called the referee over.
“The ref said Martyn hadn’t told him but I think what’s happened is the ref hasn’t told his fourth official.
“It’s laughable really. We were saying to the ref ‘but we told you before the game’ and the ref’s saying ‘no you didn’t’.
“If the ref is trying to cover his back by saying that, then that’s up to him.”