WIGAN Athletic will appeal the controversial red card picked up by Conor Sammon at Manchester United yesterday that threatens to rule the Dubliner out of the next three matches.
Sammon was dimissed by referee Phil Dowd for an innocuous coming-together with Michael Carrick just after the half-hour mark of Wigan’s 5-0 thrashing at Old Trafford.
Latics were only trailing 1-0 at that point, having recovered from the blow of Ji-Sung Park’s early goal to settle into the game.
But Dimitar Berbatov added number two within moments of Sammon’s departure, and further goals after the break from Berbatov (2) and Antonbio Valencia ensured a harsh final scoreline.
And Roberto Martinez was left choking on a sense of injustice as he tried to come to terms with his side’s first defeat in four matches.
“The sending off is a shocking decision,” he told the Evening Post.
“If you want to show a red card using those standards, do it, then you will end up with six men each.
“I was surprised when he gave the free-kick.
“To see the red card, I was gobsmacked.
“It’s hard enough to come to Old Trafford and be competitive with 11 men – they don’t need any help of that kind.
“The sending-off just killed us – it was a disgraceful decision, one that we couldn’t overcome, and one that cost us the game.
“It was a shame for both our fans and the Manchester United fans, because you don’t want to see those kinds of decisions whoever you support.”
As things stand, Sammon will have to sit out the New Year’s Eve trip to Stoke, the visit of Sunderland the following week and then the FA Cup third-round trip to Swindon.
But the Latics chief confirmed they will not be taking the punishment lying down.
“Of course we have to appeal, more than anything because we don’t want to lose Conor and he doesn’t deserve to miss three games through suspension,” Martinez added.
“All he is doing is fighting for possession of the ball, trying to get a good position in front of Michael Carrick, and you see that every week in the Premier League.
“It’s just so disappointing. Football should be allowed to be played between players who are allowed to compete for the ball.
“Football is a contact sport and any red cards have to be a very clear decision.
“When you see the TV replays, you can see it wasn’t clear – it’s an unbelievable decision from an experienced referee.”