Barnet caretaker boss Dean Brennan has issued a plea for referees to protect his players after he believes they were unfairly targeted throughout the Bees’ 2-1 victory over Stockport County on Tuesday night.
By Amos Murphy
Busy bees bust down County defence
Two set-piece goals from Joe Widdowson and Reiss Greenidge was enough for Barnet to pick up their first win in four league games against the Hatters, who had equalised through Oliver Crankshaw just before the break.
Widdowson would be forced off on a stretcher following a heedless challenge from Macauley Southam-Hales with 20 minutes to play – a tackle that resulted in a straight red card for the Stockport full-back.
Barnet themselves were reduced to 10 men moments later, when Jordan Thomas was sent off for dragging down County striker Scott Quigley.
Trio of reds in feisty closing stages
The dismissals weren’t to stop there however, as Brennan himself was given his marching orders in the closing stages for kicking away the ball when County were looking to restart the match.
A comical end to a heated encounter and much to the frustration of the caretaker boss, who spoke post-match about his anger towards the officials:
“I felt the referee didn’t manage the game well enough. The referee lost control of the game and he’s evened it up by giving a red card (to Thomas) when it was never a sending off.
“I don’t know how Thomas has been sent off by the way. The Stockport player isn’t in control of the ball. Does the referee even know the laws?
“He hasn’t given a yellow card to them (Stockport) in the first-half despite consistent fouling, but they must have made about 20,000 fouls in that half.”
Horror show for tragic Widdowson injury
Edgeley Park was left shaken when Widdowson was taken off, but Brennan believed the incident was preventable:
“That’s what (the Southam-Hales tackle) happens when referees don’t control of the game. I know the lad probably hasn’t meant it, but the referee needs to take a good luck at himself”.
“We need an explanation. Allowed to foul our players until something like that happens?
When Widdowson was finally taken off the pitch by the St John’s Ambulance crew, Edgeley Park showed great sympathy for the Barnet defender, something Brennan was appreciative of:
“Have to say though Stockport were outstanding. We have to thank them for that. I have nothing against Stockport”.
Referees against Barnet this season, believes Brennan
When speaking about the Widdowson incident, Brennan was visibly emotional and he felt as if it was not the first time his side had been targeted:
“In the break I said we have to do this for Joe Widdowson. We had everything against us today. We had 12 men against us today.
“Saturday was the same. I counted nine fouls by Wrexham in the last game. Same again tonight. Just because we’re a small club coming up against Stockport? Hollywood? It’s embarrassing”
“There were a lot of fouls on our players and it’s a tactic of teams now and then we give away one foul and we’re given a yellow card straight away”.
Important victory in Brennan’s Barnet quest
Directing attention back to his side’s victory, Brennan praised the togetherness of Barnet, who had to dig deep to hold off the County attacks:
“I’m proud of our team today and we shouldn’t even be talking about him (the referee). We need character and this is what proves it.
“We didn’t walk the walk tonight, we talked the talk.”