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Football: Twelve off in referees' clamp-down

TWELVE players were sent off in 21 English Coca-Cola Cup ties last night - plus one in Scotland - as the refereeing clampdown continued to bite, writes Clive White. Fifa's new edict had contributed towards the dismissal of 10 players on the opening day of the Football League season last Saturday.

More than half of last night's expulsions, in first-round, first-leg ties, were for second bookable offences and two clubs, Peterborough and Plymouth, each had two players sent off.

At the Manor Ground, where the Posh lost 3-1, three players in all received their marching orders as John Byrne, a hat-trick hero for Oxford on Saturday, turned villain, dismissed, along with Peterborough's Marcus Ebdon, for fighting. Gary Breen had been the first to go.

Insult was added to indiscretion for Peter Shilton's Plymouth as the Second Division side crashed to a 4-0 defeat at Third Division Walsall. Argyle capitulated once Martin Barlow had joined his team-mate Andy Comyn in disgrace for an errant elbow in the 65th minute. Kevin Wilson, the new Walsall player-coach, scored two of the four second-half goals.

The other red card offenders were Ian Juryeff (Scunthporpe), Gary Briggs (Blackpool), Keith Dublin (Southend), Scott Mean (Bournemouth), Derek Mountfield (Carlisle), Eddie Bishop (Chester), Time Steele (Hereford) and Sandy Stewart (Airdrie).