Delap red card riles Pulis despite 10-man Stoke's comfortable win

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Crawley Town 0 Stoke City 2

Broadfield Stadium

Tony Pulis, the Stoke City manager, called for discussions between clubs and referees yesterday, after Rory Delap was sent off for a challenge that divided opinion between the managers and the match officials.

Mike Jones, the referee, showed no sign of reaching for a card of any colour when Delap appeared to win the ball in a one-footed challenge with David Hunt, the Crawley right-back, until Lee Probert, the fourth official, indicated that he considered the tackle worthy of a red for "excessive force".

"Professional people and referees are so far apart sometimes in what they see as fair or reckless challenges," Pulis said. "We've had a fourth official, Lee Probert, today who has got Rory Delap sent off. But he's refereed a game, Liverpool v Newcastle [on 30 December], and not even booked a player for what was the worst challenge in the Premier League this year – for [Yohan] Cabaye's challenge on [Jay] Spearing. Lee was only five yards away."

Pulis has already been fined £10,000 for criticism of Probert this season over an alleged failure to send off Jamie Carragher in a match between Stoke and Liverpool in the Carling Cup, but he insisted he had no agenda.

"I am not here to slaughter referees," he said. "I'm trying to be constructive and say we have to get together and talk about incidents. I am just saying there is a problem.

"There are rules and regulations in place but what we have to make sure is that people understand them, both professionally and in respect to the referees. We do it as a football club. We phone [the referees chief] Mike Riley up, we send DVDs off to him all the time in respect of certain things that have happened during games and ask him his opinion. It is too great a gap and if we can get together, let's do it."

Yet Steve Evans, the Crawley manager, understood the decision. "My first impression was a red by today's standards," he said. "If your leg is straight and off the ground, you are going to go. Hunt has a four-inch gash on the inside of his ankle, which says everything. I don't think Delap means to tackle like that but the reality is that if you show your studs and you're off the ground, you're in trouble."

Evans felt his side, too, had been harshly treated, first by the award of the penalty from which Stoke took the lead shortly before half-time, when Ryan Shawcross fell under a challenge by Kyle McFadzean. He also said that Shawcross had handled a late effort by Sanchez Watt.

"On replays it's clear it's not a penalty," Evans said. "There is no contact. In the second half, [Tyrone] Barnett has been battered as he goes up for a header, and that's a penalty. And is there any excuse for missing Shawcross's handball on the line? There are nine minutes left on the clock. I can only assume someone has gone across his vision, because he is normally very good but he has had a bad second half."

The incidents overshadowed Stoke's third venture into the FA Cup sixth round in as many seasons and a stubborn display in a tie that could have caused them embarrassment. Crawley, who gave Manchester United a scare at this stage last year before going down 1-0 at Old Trafford, had lost only one of their previous 12 matches at Broadfield Stadium, a ground that is trim but still has a non-League feel and bears little resemblance to the Mestalla, where Stoke play the second leg of their Europa League tie against Valencia on Thursday.

Crawley forced a series of early corners, from the third of which Peter Crouch headed against his own crossbar. They even had a long-throw expert in Hunt, although Stoke were not falling for their own trick.

However, the dismissal of Delap seemed to take the sting out of Crawley's attacks rather than encouraging the League Two side. They had been restricted to long-range efforts from McFadzean by the time Jon Walters nodded on a free kick by Glenn Whelan and Shawcross's tumble was judged worthy of a penalty. Walters converted convincingly.

Another free-kick from Whelan seven minutes into the second half was headed home at the far post by Crouch and, after that, Stoke looked safe. Crawley forced them to defend, but although they played some good stuff in front of the Stoke back four, they were unable to trouble goalkeeper Asmir Begovic until Watt's late overhead kick was blocked by Shawcross.

"We are proud of the players, proud of the town, of everyone at the club," Evans said. "It's a little hard to take with all the decisions that went against us."

Match facts

Crawley: GILMARTIN 6/10; HUNT 7; DAVIS 7; MILLS 6; HOWELL 7; SIMPSON 6; BULMAN 6; McFADZEAN 7; TORRES 6; BARNETT 5; WATT 7

Stoke: BEGOVIC 6; COLLINS 6; UPSON 7; SHAWCROSS 7; SHOTTON 6; DELAP 4; WHELAN 7; WHITEHEAD 7; JEROME 5; CROUCH 6; WALTERS 7

Substitutes: Crawley Town Neilson 7 (Hunt, 49). Stoke City Wilkinson (Jerome, 84).

Booked: Crawley Davis. Stoke Shotton, Jerome.

Sent off: Stoke Delap (17).

Man of the match Walters.

Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Crawley 52% Stoke 48%.

Attempts on target: Crawley 8 Stoke 2.

Referee M Jones (Cheshire).

Attendance 4,240.

Suggested Topics
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'