By Alan Duffy
Fight! Fight! Fight!
There’s nothing like the sight of a group of grown men fighting to reinvigorate one’s faith in humanity, and on Tuesday night at Valley Parade, League Two sides Bradford City and Crawley Town got involved in some proper aggro when five players – Bradford’s Andrew Davies, Luke Oliver and Jon McLaughlin and Crawley’s Kyle McFadzean and Claude Davis (who had only come on for the last four minutes) – were dismissed in the dressing rooms by referee Ian Williamson following a post-match dust-up.
Bradford manager Phil Parkinson said:
“The referee seems very clear in his mind what went on and that is the reason he took the action he did in the dressing rooms. Until I see the DVD it is difficult to comment but the sendings-off leave us with lots of problems, to say the least.
“We know what Crawley bring in terms of an intimidating approach before, during and after matches. You have to make sure you don’t get involved. Both clubs have paid a heavy price. I can’t believe this has happened.
“I have never been in a situation before where a ref has come into the dressing room, pulled players on one side and sent them off. He wouldn’t allow me in there.
“I will look at the DVD and if any of my players are guilty of throwing punches they will pay heavy fines.”
Crawley boss Steve Evans even added the old/slightly sexist ‘handbags’ cliché to his analysis, saying:
“I think it was handbags, with a lot of pushing and shoving, but it was disappointing to see. If people have acted out of turn they need to be dealt with.
“The fourth official confirmed to me that the Bradford boy ran and punched somebody. Then there was a mass of bodies who had initially come together to shake hands. It is a shame because it takes away from what was an outstanding performance.”
Elsewhere in League Two, Shrewsbury’s game against Port Vale had to be abondoned after fans were evacuated on the hour mark when the floodlights failed and an electrical fire began billowing out smoke from under the East Stand at the Greenhous Meadow Stadium.
Thankfully, nobody was hurt.