‘Strange decisions’ baffle Stevenage boss against Oxford

Darren Sarll

Darren Sarll - Credit: Archant

Stevenage caretaker boss Darren Sarll says he doesn’t believe John Lundstram’s challenge on Michael Tonge merited a red card in today’s clash between Oxford United and Stevenage, but added that the hosts were also wrongly awarded a penalty.

Former Everton midfielder Lundstram was sent off for a needless challenge on Tonge 16 minutes into this afternoon’s game, which finished 1-1 following Liam Sercombe’s goal for the hosts and Byron Harrison’s equaliser.

The red card means that the 22-year-old will now miss Oxford’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final match against Barnsley at Wembley next weekend.

Sarll also said he didn’t think Oxford should have been awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time when Jamie Jones bundled Danny Hylton to the floor.

Although the goalkeeper had his hands on the striker, Sarll believed that the forward had backed into his stopper and the decision should have gone the way of Jones who did save the resulting spot kick.

Speaking firstly of the red card, Boro’s caretaker boss said: “I didn’t initially [think it should have been red] but I’m an archaic midfield player who used to enjoy doing what the lad did.

“I thought he went with one foot, I thought he got his leg on the floor which is a good sign.

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“I didn’t think it was at the time. When we saw the red card I was surprised. Whether it was or not we’ll see through analysis later.”

Asked about the penalty, Sarll added: “I thought it was a ridiculous decision. I thought it was made because of an early sending off.

“It may be an unwritten law but he wanted to even that up all afternoon. I thought the penalty was evidence of that.

“It was a terrific save by Jamie Jones. He’s had to do little in my time here and has been on the end of some defeats but I thought it was a terrific save. It showcased where he was psychologically and where his abilities lie as a shot stopper.

“I was disappointed with it. I thought the lad got himself in and tried to back himself into the goalkeeper. Nine times out of 10 the goalkeeper is protected in the modern day. It was a day full of some strange decisions.”