Nicky Southall couldn’t hide his dismay after seeing three Whitstable players sent-off in a fiery Kent Senior Trophy derby game with Herne Bay
Nicky Southall couldn’t hide his dismay after seeing three Whitstable players sent-off in a fiery Kent Senior Trophy derby game with Herne Bay amid scenes he described as disgraceful.
The Oystermen had James Morrish and John Guest dismissed by referee Phil Rowley amid a 20-man confrontation in the final five minutes of Town’s 1-0 win at The Belmont. Moments later, Steve Hafner saw red for an alleged headbutt on Dean Grant.
Southall said: “It was a competitive derby but it wasn’t that type of game, not until the last 10 minutes.
“Unfortunately, it’s spoiled the game and people will be talking about what happened rather than us playing some good football and winning.
“I don’t want have to explain the actions of my players – although both teams were involved in causing the confrontation.”
Southall admitted: “It was hard to see what was happening with so many bodies crowding round.
“James got sent-off but I couldn’t see exactly what for and John got a second yellow but he claimed he was just trying to protect James.
“Steve Hafner was a bit different. He says he was being spat at and punched in the altercation but you can’t go and headbutt someone right in front of your manager. It was a disgrace.”
Southall fumed: “I was a player and I expect my players to play with class. There were young kids there watching and for them to see that, it’s not right. If you did that on the street, you’d be arrested.
“He (Steve) knows how I feel about it. He’s not that type of lad at all but he’s lost his head.
“He said he’s going to ring the player personally and apologise and I said I want him to do that.”
Southall, however, revealed he will not release the midfielder, adding: “Steve’s had his troubles in the past, he’s been out of the game a couple of years beating cancer.
“He’s got a second chance in life and he’ll get a second chance at this club too. He knows I am not going to put up with it again. They all do. Any player out there doing that kind of thing in future is going to be out of the club.”
Southall added: “I want us to play with passion, hard but fair and within the rules. I want us to act professionally, that was the sort of thing you see in Sunday leagues.
“We won the game and went through but we’ll lose three players to suspension for a long time, so what did we really win?”
Town visit Sittingbourne in the preliminary round of the FA Trophy on Saturday (3pm) and Southall said: “It’s another local derby and I just hope we can keep 11 players on the pitch because you’re not going to win many games if you end games with 10 men, let alone eight.”
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