Football: Five players sent off in dressing room after brawl

28 March 2012 02:46

A referee took the extraordinary step of sending off five players in the dressing room in a chaotic postscript to a fiery clash in the fourth tier of English football on Tuesday.

Southern side Crawley won 2-1 away to League Two rivals Bradford but that was only part of the story as referee Ian Williamson showed red cards to three Bradford players -- Andrew Davies, Luke Oliver and goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin -- and two from Crawley -- Kyle McFadzean and substitute Claude Davis -- during a post-match brawl which was said to have started with a punch.

In the actual game, Williamson booked five Crawley players and one from Bradford before, unexpectedly, having his work cut out after the final whistle.

Davies was left facing a five-match ban, having been shown a red card twice already this season.

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson, who insisted any of his players who threw a punch would be fined, said: "The referee seems very clear in his mind what went on and that is the reason he took the action he did in the dressing rooms.

"Until I see the DVD it is difficult to comment but the sendings-off leave us with lots of problems, to say the least.

"We know what Crawley bring in terms of an intimidating approach before, during and after matches. You have to make sure you don't get involved.

"Both clubs have paid a heavy price. I can't believe this has happened. I have never been in a situation before where a ref has come into the dressing room, pulled players on one side and sent them off.

"He wouldn't allow me in there!

"I will look at the DVD and if any of my players are guilty of throwing punches they will pay heavy fines."

Crawley manager Steve Evans said: "I only saw the Bradford player Andrew Davies run towards my players and throw a punch. I think it was handbags, with a lot of pushing and shoving, but it was disappointing to see.

"If people have acted out of turn they need to be dealt with.

"The fourth official confirmed to me that the Bradford boy Davies ran and punched somebody. Then there was a mass of bodies who had initially come together to shake hands.

"It is a shame because it takes away from what was an outstanding performance."

Source: AFP