The Gillingham manager Justin Edinburgh appears to have seen a completely different match to many at Vale Park saying that the ref was influenced by Vale fans.
Edinburgh told the media after the game: “We had a similar situation here last year when the referee was flashing a lot of cards and as small as the crowd was, he seemed to be intimidated.”
Edinburgh’s sense of scale seems odd – Vale’s “small” crowd is only 800 down on his own side’s average home attendance this season. The Gillingham manager rambled on: “I felt he was succumbing to making a few bad decisions.”
It’s an odd statement to make because considering many of the Vale fans were complaining that a host of strong Gills challenges were going unpunished, so if the referee had been “influenced” would he not have bowed to the Vale calls for more cards and shown the opposition more than the four yellows he did?
Many will suspect that Edinburgh actually knows that his team were guilty of some strong-arm challenges – after all Oshilaja made two identical crashing challenges and yet bizarrely he only received a yellow for one. If the red was making “bad decisions” then that appeared to be one. Why else did Edinburgh then substitute Oshilaja at half-time if it wasn’t to prevent an inevitable red?
Vale winger Jerome Thomas certainly believed he was the victim of some heavy challenges tweeting: