Mills and gloom
DAVID CUFFLEY Midfielder Darel Russell accused Charlton's ex-Canary defender Danny Mills of “playing up to the crowd” as City crashed to defeat on a night of controversy at The Valley.
Midfielder Darel Russell accused Charlton's ex-Canary defender Danny Mills of “playing up to the crowd” as City crashed to defeat on a night of controversy at The Valley.
Acting skipper Dion Dublin was sent off and Darren Huckerby shown the yellow card after separate incidents involving the former England international - currently on loan to the London club from Manchester City - as the Canaries were beaten by two late Andy Reid penalties in the Coca-Cola Championship fixture.
Manager Peter Grant, a former team-mate of Mills at Carrow Road, argued that he should have been dismissed for trying to elbow Huckerby long before Dublin's injury-time exit. Dublin appeared to shoulder charge Mills to the ground in stoppage time at the end of the match. Referee Jarnail Singh claimed there was also a head butt from the veteran after Mills got to his feet, though TV replays showed nothing.
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“It was probably Danny Mills playing up to the crowd,” said Russell. “So it's disappointing on that front because anyone who knows Dion, he's a big, honest lad and he's not going to try to do anything. I'm sure if he was going to do something, the size of him you'd know about it and I'm sure he (Mills) wouldn't be jumping up in a second.”
Dublin faces a three-match ban for a straight red card unless City can overturn the decision.
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“You have the problem that if you do appeal you can possibly get an extra game as well, so it's a fine line,” said Russell. “I mentioned to the referee that I felt he made two bad decisions today and we just have to see what happens.”
Asked about Dublin's dismissal, Grant said: “The player that was on the pitch involved in it should have been off anyway. As for putting Dion off, it's not a head butt because if it was a head butt he'd still be laying there.
“But Mills should have been off the pitch prior to that, with the Darren Huckerby situation. Whether he's hit him, it doesn't matter, there was intent there, he swung his elbow at him and he deserved to go off. There was 20 minutes to go and the game could have been completely different.”
Grant admitted he had not seen a re-run of the red card incident.
“But I know Dion Dublin,” he said. “He went with his shoulder and you know sometimes if you do that your head automatically goes forward, but everybody can seen as plain as day it's his shoulder that's hit him. It was disappointing Danny was involved in both scenarios. We know Danny's a competitor. I've nothing against that, and he's a good player. But there's another side to him as well and he deserved to go.
“I always think it's important you finish a game with 11 players, but I don't think Dion Dublin, in that circumstance, would have head-butted Danny. At the age he is now, he wouldn't be wound up like that. I think the disappointment came from the fact that everybody had seen that Mills had done Huckerby. Dion has probably taken retribution with his shoulder, but that's not the way you get it. The best way to answer it is to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Russell described the defeat as “devastating” after Gary Doherty and Julien Brellier conceded penalties after 84 and 87 minutes, both for fouls on substitute Izale McLeod.
“I wouldn't mind if we had conceded the goals from open play and they'd broken us down, because they played well today. But they never managed to crack us in that way and they've scored two penalties, which is devastating and it's a hard way to lose a game,” said Russell.
“It's a massive blow because I think with the performance and how we absorbed the pressure, coming away with a 0-0 draw would have been a massive result. I'm sure before the game a lot of people would have taken that with a team that should be knocking on automatic promotion this season.”
City felt Brellier's challenge for the second spot-kick was outside the penalty area.
“I definitely had a good view of the second one,” said Russell. “The first one I actually turned away because I didn't think it was too much, and the second one, it was definitely outside the box.”