Appleby wants football to learn from ‘rugby’s example’ after red cards cost Wisbech Town

09:41 02 November 2012

Wisbech Town vs CRC, Action.  Picture Steve Williams

Wisbech Town vs CRC, Action. Picture Steve Williams

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WISBECH Town boss Steve Appleby has called on football’s players and officials to learn from the example set in rugby.

Fenmen defenders Jon Fairweather and Paul Cousins were sent off in a 2-2 draw with CRC at the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium on Saturday.

The decisions prompted Appleby to defend his side’s disciplinary record and plead for a more consistent and communicative approach to refereeing.

“If we all talked to each other it would go a long way,” he said. “If players are abusive then the ref should get the cards out, but why not talk to players?

“It’s something we need to look at. I think the rugby players have got it dead right. They speak to the ref, the ref speaks to them and his decision is final.

“This is not a dig at the refs, it’s a dig at football in general.”

Last season, Appleby revealed that poor refereeing had driven him to the brink of quitting football.

“As referees, it’s all about being consistent and approachable,” he said.

“After Saturday’s game I didn’t even speak to the referee. I’ve said to myself that the next time I lose the plot with a referee I will walk away from the game. That’s how much it gets to me.”

The Fenmen amassed 87 yellow and nine red cards last season but Appleby has been impressed with their improved record in this campaign.

However the dismissals of Fairweather and captain Cousins cost them on Saturday after Dubi Ogbonna’s brace looked to have secured the points.

“It was a hiccup because our discipline has been much better this season,” said Appleby.

“The boys realised they needed to be playing and not sat on the sidelines suspended.

“Even after the red cards on Saturday we stayed brave. We went three at the back, three in midfield and two up top to try and win it with nine men.”

Appleby said he had been assured that Wisbech, who sit second in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, would apply for promotion to Step 4 next season.

He said: “There’s an air of disappointment at the minute even though we haven’t been beaten in 10 games! That just shows how expectations have changed.”

Saturday’s red cards mean Wisbech will be without Cousins and Fairweather for their FA Vase clash with United Counties League leaders St Ives Town on November 17.

They will also be depleted for tomorrow’s trip to struggling Felixstowe & Walton United, with midfielders Rogan McGeorge, Matt Lunn and Steven Reid missing. Appleby admitted that he may be forced to bring a player in on loan.

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