Sunderland boss Jack Ross criticises referee as two players see red

Sunderland boss Jack Ross insisted that neither of the players shown a red card for violent conduct in the 1-1 draw with Luton deserved to be sent off.

Sunderland boss Jack Ross insisted that neither of the players shown a red card for violent conduct in the 1-1 draw with Luton deserved to be sent off.

Chris Maguire put Sunderland ahead in the first half before being dismissed in added time for an apparent stamp on Alan McCormack.

Midway through the second half, during which James Collins equalised with a penalty, Luton lost Danny Hylton after referee Lee Probert believed the striker had used an elbow when jostling for possession with Jack Baldwin.

Ross said: ‘I don’t think either of them were red cards is my first thought.

‘I don’t think Danny Hylton’s was a red – if anything the challenge later on when James Collins was cautioned was more of a red card.

‘I’m not saying he should’ve been sent off, but if you look at Danny Hylton’s challenge I think it was a caution.

‘Chris Maguire was sent off for a stamp, which he did not do.

‘I don’t want this to deflect from any deficiencies in our performance, but there were some poor decisions made, that is the reality, that is not just my opinion.

‘Having watched it back and having heard from the fourth official why he was sent off, the two things don’t marry together, so it will be interesting to see what their reasoning for the red card is if we appeal it.

‘I’ve had loads of bad games as a player and bad games as a manager. It happens. But he (Probert) had a poor game today.

‘I’m allowed to say that, that’s my opinion and I think it would marry with a lot of other opinions.

‘I’m not just talking about the bad decisions, I’m talking about in general.’

It was Sunderland‘s 10th draw of the season, and Ross added: ‘When we don’t win games at home we’re disappointed and frustrated.

‘But we were playing against a good team, a team that are where they are in the league (second) and there for a reason.’

Luton were in the caretaker charge of Mick Harford, the club hero replacing Nathan Jones following his midweek departure to take charge at Stoke, and he was sympathetic towards Hylton.

Harford, no stranger to the referee’s notebook during his playing days as a combative striker, said the Hatters may appeal against Probert’s decision.

‘Danny is destroyed about it. We’ll appeal it if we can and get him ready for Tuesday,’ said Harford, whose side play at home to Sheffield Wednesday in an FA Cup replay.

‘Danny is a great lad, he’s our talisman and centre-forward. He said it wasn’t intentional. I’ve been in his position as a centre-forward when you’re backing in and you tend to put your arms up.

‘I don’t know whether he’d flung his elbow or the centre-half has made the most of it as they do at times.’

Harford was proud of his team after earning a point to stay second in Sky Bet League One, extending their unbeaten run to 14 matches.

He said: ‘We have a good group of players who have had a setback this week, and the game was above the level of intensity and quality and it was an exciting game.

‘It was two teams trying to get promoted in front of nearly 40,000 in League One.

‘I’ve come in and tried to galvanise the players a bit, they’ve taken on board what I’ve said and I thought they were magnificent.’