FRUSTRATED Colin Cooper admitted referee James Adcock was right to send Jordan Richards off but felt it was a harsh decision because it was so early on in the game, writes Richard Mennear.
The Hartlepool United manager said the 20-year-old right-back’s challenge was “reckless” but felt the referee could have been more lenient with the match in its infancy.
Indeed, it took just two minutes and 14 seconds for Richards to wipe out Fleetwood Town’s Jeff Hughes, catapulting the midfielder into the air.
After receiving treatment on the side of the pitch, Hughes was substituted and left the ground in a protective cast but speaking afterwards, manager Graham Alexander hoped it would not be too serious.
Trimdon-born Cooper said his initial view was blocked but after watching it from two different angles after the match, admitted Adcock had made the right call.
The 46-year-old said: “I was blocked off by the fourth official for the original incident and I felt as though the referee reacted to the crowd and the players around him rather than the incident itself.
“Having seen one view of it, it didn’t change my mind as I didn’t feel as though Jordan was off his feet or that it was a reckless challenge.
“I told the referee that I didn’t agree with that decision and another couple in the game.
“They obviously mark themselves on the key match Incidents and I disagreed with at least two of them today.
“But having seen the incident closer, which by the way the referee doesn’t get that close, I have to say that it was a reckless challenge and not only does Jordan arrive after Jeff Hughes has played the ball, he also sends Jeff up into a cartwheel.
“So I felt like I had to go back into the referee’s room and tell him that I had seen it again a lot closer and in a lot more detail and he had probably got it right.
“That doesn’t mean that I feel like he made the right decision in the second minute of the game.
“Whether or not it was harsh, we probably feel like the referee can take into account that it was only the second minute of the game.
“But that is from our point of view and I’m sure Fleetwood will feel differently about that.”