TAIT: IT`S AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE
Quakers reveal plan to appeal over McGurk's red
by Lee Hall, The Northern Echo
Darlington will be appealing against David McGurk's sending off at the weekend, manager Mick Tait has insisted.
McGurk was one of seven Quakers players to be cautioned by referee Trevor Kettle, who controversially dismissed the Teessider after a second bookable offence.
The 21-year-old was sent off three minutes into the second half of Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Mansfield after challenging for the ball with Stags defender Tony Vaughan.
And while Vaughan, who showed as much aggression as McGurk when going for the ball, was let off with a talking to by the Berkshire official, the Quakers defender now faces a one-match ban.
"We'll certainly appeal against that because it's an absolute disgrace," fumed Tait.
"One of the few bookings he should have made was when Matt Clarke ran 40 yards before kicking the ball away.
"I think one man has decided the game today and it has cost us dear.
"I just asked the referee after the game how can he sleep at night after a performance like that because I'm sure I wouldn't be able to."
The defeat at Field Mill brought to an end Quakers' six-match unbeaten run in the League.
However Tait was full of praise for his side, after they were forced to play the majority of the second half with ten men.
"I thought we started very slowly but we gradually worked our way back into it and I thought he did very well in the second half even with ten men," said Tait
"It's hard straight after half-time to lose a man but I thought we worked very hard.
"If we show that kind of attitude every week we won't go far wrong. We've just got to forget about today and look forward to our next game."
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Michael Price will be fit to face Bristol Rovers at the Reynolds Arena this Saturday.
The Quakers number two sustained a head injury in the second half after saving bravely at the feet of Stags striker Junior Mendes.
However, Tait is confident that the stopper will be available, with first choice goalkeeper Andy Collett already sidelined for a month with a collapsed lung.
"Michael was having a few stitches put in but he should be alright," said Tait.
Tait hits boiling point over Kettle
by Lee Hall, The Northern Echo
If Trevor Kettle plays his red and yellow cards right he may well be changing Mansfield for Manchester United in the near future.
That's according to Darlington manager Mick Tait, who will be the first to admit his judgement isn't the greatest when it comes to referees.
And while the Quakers boss would much prefer to have been discussing a game of football on Saturday, it was the performance of Berkshire official Kettle which unfortunately provided the major talking point at Field Mill. Kettle simply lost the plot with a catalogue of woeful decisions, which at times were cringe worthy.
Granted, referees make mistakes, just like players and managers do. But where there is opportunity for redemption, Kettle it seemed, was happy to dig a hole deeper for himself with some of the most astonishingly bad decisions, which came to a head with the dismissal of defender David McGurk early in the second half.
Already on a yellow card, the Teessider joined Stags defender Tony Vaughan in what appeared to be a firm but fair contest for the ball.
But just as the linesman - just yards away from the incident - flagged for a throw-in, the referee raced over, with Vaughan holding his hands up expecting a booking, only to show McGurk another yellow and a subsequent red as former Manchester City man Vaughan walked away with only a talking to.
"We've came here to watch a game and all we're talking about is the referee," sighed Tait.
"I have to be careful what I say but the last person I saw who was that bad was Rob Styles and he's in the Premiership now so it shows what a good judge I am.
"It's just a nonsense. Supporters pay good money to watch a game of football and people like him come on this pitch and spoil the game.
"People come to watch a game of football - not a referee running around, blowing his whistle.
"No-one in a yellow shirt has hurt us today, he had a green shirt on."
And while Quakers' battle with the clueless Kettle wasn't enough to contend with, Tait's hands were already full, containing a well-organised Mansfield side.
The Football League's joint top scorers with 25 goals scored prior to Saturday's game, Keith Curle's men signalled their intentions early on as Rhys Day headed wide a Liam Lawrence free-kick after just two minutes.
It was the dangerous right foot of Lawrence which caused more problems for the Quakers defence with ten minutes played as full-back Jamie Clarke directed an inviting cross from the right over the bar.
However, Lawrence made it three times lucky moments later when, with Quakers keeper Michael Price failing to collect the cross, Vaughan headed home into an empty net.
Only the upright prevented Mansfield from going further in front after 23 minutes when Day rose highest to head another Lawrence set-piece off the post with Price beaten.
And it was Day who was involved in the first of seven bookings for Quakers when the defender was on the end of challenge from Barry Conlon, which was hardly a foul, let alone a caution. But Kettle's odd decision very much set the tone for the rest of a game which was by no means a dirty one.
A rare slip from skipper Craig Liddle let in Iyseden Christie on the half hour mark but the bustling forward dragged his effort wide of Price's goal.
And strike partner Junior Mendes should have done better for the home side when he took a touch inside the box before firing tamely at Price. It wasn't until the stroke of half-time that Quakers finally recorded their first effort on goal and it came from the penalty spot. Ashley Nicholls burst into the box where he was brought down by last man Day, who wasn't even booked.
Ian Clark stepped up and, despite seeing his spot-kick saved by Stags keeper Kevin Pilkington, the former Hartlepool man followed in on the rebound to head his side level. But just as Quakers appeared to be taking some kind of hold on the game, the dismissal of McGurk three minutes into the second half provided a sucker punch.
And it was one time Quakers target Christie who provided the ultimate blow when he restored the lead for his side, heading home substitute Wayne Corden's cross. And it was from a 'foul' that Corden put the game beyond Quakers with a well-taken free-kick from 25 yards out.
Result: Mansfield Town 3 Darlington 1.
Latest | October 2003