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Johnson: Ref got 'excited' by red card
LEON Johnson said referee Gavin Ward got caught up in the moment in sending off Wanderers captain Stuart Lewis, as Blues boss Gareth Ainsworth was left to ponder an appeal.
Lewis was given his marching orders midway through the first half of their match at AFC Wimbledon for a high challenge on George Porter.
But Johnson said Porter made a meal of the tackle, which Lewis appeared to be pulling out of, and that helped referee Ward – who sent off Matt Spring for a similar incident at Yeovil last season – make his mind up to show the red card.
Johnson, who took the captain’s armband in Lewis’s absence, said: “I think the ref got a bit excited. Stu got in a couple of challenges before and their players were on at the ref to book him.
“When that [the tackle] happened, I think he’s got a bit excited and sent him off.
“It was possibly a yellow. I don’t think he’s really touched him that much – I don’t think it was that bad. He’s stayed down and rolled around a bit, and the ref’s got caught up in it and sent him off.
“We battled hard with ten men and maybe deserved something for our work rate. The sending off changed things a bit.”
Wanderers manager Ainsworth agreed with Johnson’s assessment that the red card given to Lewis – the third of his career but the first he’s picked up since 2007 – was unwarranted.
He said: “I thought it was not a sending off, in my opinion. My mind doesn’t count, the referee’s does.
“All my players didn’t think it was one. I asked [Wimbledon manager] Neal Ardley and he said it was very harsh. But we deal with this.
“The red card did come at a crucial time, 20-25 minutes in. Seventy minutes is tough and they scored within two or three minutes of that, just as we were trying to reshuffle. It was hard to get things in place.”
Ainsworth hinted that the club may appeal against the sending off, which carries with it a three match ban for midfielder Lewis.
He said: “Red cards have been rescinded before. I’ll have to look at it on the video myself.”