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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions