OPINION: Referee got both Blackpool red cards wrong

Marc Bola was shown a red card last weekend
Marc Bola was shown a red card last weekend

Thankfully common sense won the day this week as the FA saw fit to overturn Marc Bola’s three-game ban.

Unfortunately, such wisdom was not applied to Donervon Daniels, whose straight red against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday was upheld.

Footage clearly shows the ‘altercation’ was nothing more than a tussle between the pair.

After the ball is turned away for a corner, Daniels rushes over to Bola and grabs him by the front of his shirt. They exchange a few choice words, Bola pushes him back and well, that’s about it.

No hands were raised to the face, no punches thrown, no heads pushed towards one another.

The laws state a player is guilty of violent conduct if he uses “excessive force or brutality”. I can understand the referee booking Daniels, given the centre-back went a little overboard, but was it excessive or brutal enough to warrant a red? It seems very harsh.

Meanwhile Bola barely does anything and is also shown his marching orders. The left-back, understandably, was left utterly bemused. Surely a talking-to would have sufficed.

The man in charge last weekend was Neil Hair, an inexperienced official who – prior to Saturday – had overseen just five fixtures in the EFL, all of them coming in League Two.

Having officiated in the National League for just two seasons, he was promoted to the EFL’s referees’ list during the summer. Clearly he’s being fast tracked.

Blackpool will have to do without Daniels this weekend as they welcome Luton Town to Bloomfield Road for the first meeting between the two sides since that thrilling play-off semi-final clash in 2017.

Ironically, Pool’s new number two Gary Brabin will be in the dugout for the first time against the club he previously managed.