KEITH Southern can’t play until the final game of the season – and no one is fuming more than Ian Holloway.
The Seasiders boss launched a stinging attack on referee Andy D’Urso after he gave Southern a straight red 20 minutes into the draw with Barnsley.
Holloway felt his midfielder’s challenge on Tykes skipper Stephen Foster didn’t merit a sending off. And the Pool boss insisted that if the official did think it was a red card, he should have dismissed Foster as well.
Southern must now serve a three-match suspension.
Holloway’s mood would have been even bleaker had his 10-men not fought back from a goal down to claim a point, courtesy of a Matt Phillips’ strike towards the end. It was Phillips’ first goal in 14 games, and his 11th of the season in a Pool shirt.
The draw keeps Holloway’s men nicely positioned in fifth, four points clear of seventh-placed Brighton, though the Seagulls have a game in hand. But that was of scant consolation to the boss yesterday, who couldn’t get past a refereeing decision which undoubtedly had a major impact on the outcome of the game.
“I have seen a re-run of the incident four times and I still have exactly the same opinion as I did when the referee made his original decision – ‘what on earth are you doing?’” said Holloway.
“The referee has called it reckless. I know that because I went in the officials room after the game to speak to him.
“But if Keith’s was reckless, what about their bloke? It was two-footed. I don’t understand.
“It was wet, it was slippery, it was a good game, there was no nastiness. They try and play, so do we.
“The ball went in between two big, strong people and they went in for a tackle. Keith went in with one foot, not two. You can clearly see it.
“Their bloke has jumped in with two. So if my bloke gets a red card then surely their bloke should? “If we want to outlaw reckless leg-breaking tackles then send the both of them off.
“I saw three in the Premier League on Sunday from Balotelli. One of them was worse than anything, so I am just totally confused.”
D’Urso is a former top flight official and Holloway made it clear he expected better.
“I expected a senior referee, as Mr D’Urso is, to make a better decision than he did,” the manager added.