Caretaker-manager Grant McCann reckons Jermaine Anderson’s ‘ridiculous’ red card helped Peterborough United gain a creditable League One draw at home to second-placed Walsall today (September 19).
Anderson was dismissed after accidentally throwing a water bottle into the crowd in the latter stages of the match. Referee Mark Heywood acted on the advice of his fourth official and dismissed Anderson, apparently for violent conduct.
Posh were 1-0 down at the time and heading for a place in the relegation zone, but substitute Michael Bostwick earned and scored an 86th-minute penalty to deliver an unlikely point and stop Walsall hitting the top of the table.
“Jermaine had just received some treatment for cramp,” McCann explained. “He had a drink of water, threw the bottle underarm back to the physio, it missed him and went into the crowd. The crowd were laughing, myself and Jermaine apologised and that should have been the end of it.
“But the fourth official informed the referee who told me he then sent Jermaine off for violent conduct. It was a ridiculous decision, one of the most bizarre I’ve seen in all my time in football, and hopefully common sense will prevail and we will have the red card over-turned.
“I did take the opportunity though to rally the lads and tell them to work harder as we were down to 10 men and the spirit they showed was fantastic. We pushed on, won a penalty and scored an equaliser. In the circumstances it was a good point against a very good side.
“Sometimes going down to 10 men can inspire a team and that’s what happened to us in a way,”
Anderson was quick to tweet after the game saying: “Disappointed to be sent off for something so accidental. Thanks to the fans and club for being behind me and glad that we came from behind and gained a point.”
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony was angry with the decision. MacAnthony said; “Football’s gone mad - 19-year-old misplacing where he threw a bottle of water. Bravo 4th official. Classy red card!”
McCann named an unchanged side from the one that beat Oldham 5-1 on his managerial debut last weekend (September 12). He retained the midfield diamond system, but Posh found it harder to make it work against better opposition.
“We started the game well,” McCann added. “They didn’t know what to do with us. Their coaching staff were regularly having to shout instructions, but the game did then die down a bit. The heat possibly caught up with the players on both sides.
“We played well, but not as well as we did at Oldham. We played well until we reached their penalty area, but we weren’t in much danger until they they scored from long range. We have a habit of letting teams shoot at us and it’s something we must stop.
“The three substitutes we put on made a difference. I sent Jon Taylor on for his running power and he helped create our goal. While I’m in charge I will continue to play an open, attractive game. I’m enjoying the job.”
Posh have taken four points from two matches with McCann in charge. Right-back Michael Smith passed a late fitness test this morning after injuring a knee in training.
Hot favourite to become the new Posh manager, Graham Westley, was again in the crowd, He has watched the last three Posh matches.