Bolton Wanderers manager Keith Hill has claimed that Josh Earl’s sending off in their 7-1 thrashing by Accrington Stanley was harsh, but that it is no excuse for the collapse that followed from his side.
Daryl Murphy had handed Wanderers the lead inside four minutes, but the game would turn just ten minutes later, when Earl was shown a straight red after bringing down Dion Charles inside the Bolton penalty area.
Colby Bishop dispatched the resulting penalty for Stanley, who then went on to run in six more to hand Wanderers their heaviest defeat of the season so far.
Speaking after the game, Hill was asked about the decision to send Earl off, and while he was not impressed with that call from referee Anthony Backhouse, the Wanderers boss was reluctant to use it as an explanation for side’s all-round performance, telling the Bolton News: “I don’t think it should have been given as a red card but the way the opponent got into the box was too easy.
“Maybe it was an overreaction from the officials but we really didn’t deal with going down to 10 men. I expect better, I demanded better but I didn’t get it.
“He has not done an awful lot wrong, he gave a penalty away and got sent off. And I don’t believe he should have been sent off.”
The defeat at The Wham Stadium brought an end to Bolton’s run of three straight league victories, and it seems Hill was struck by the contrast in performance on Saturday from those past few games, as he added: “We felt massive consequences of being down to 10 men and being in League One. Last week was superb, I didn’t sense anyone getting above their station but you come to Accrington you have to be better than them at the simple stuff – determination, respect, responsibility.
“That goes for every player on the pitch and probably the staff included.”
I have to agree with Hill in every sense here.
The red card that was shown to Earl on Saturday certainly to have been a harsh one, particularly when you consider the double jeopardy rule that is supposed to reduce the risk of teams being punished twice for the same offence with a penalty and a sending off.
That being said, the way Wanderers capitulated after Earl’s exit was undoubtedly a concern, especially when you look at the nature of some of the goals they conceded.
While their good run of form was – like any run – always going to end at some point, the fact that it ultimately came to such a juddering and emphatic halt is likely to be a significant concern for those associated with the Trotters.