Red mist for Gunn

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FOURTEEN players were sent off in the Premiership and Endsleigh League matches yesterday, a record for a League programme and just one short of the record 15 dismissals on a combined League and FA Cup day. The scorching summer may have ended but the week's rain has done nothing to cool tempers, particularly in the First Division where fuses were short on and off the pitch.

The most bizarre dismissal of the day came at Sheffield United where Bryan Gunn, the Norwich City goalkeeper, abused the linesman over Nathan Blake's equaliser and was sent off in the tunnel by Alan Butler. "The referee didn't want to but the linesman insisted," the Norwich manager, Martin O'Neill, said. "It was a turning point in the match for us."

Carl Veart's header won the match, in which Norwich also had five players booked and Robert Fleck dismissed from the dug-out. "I think they got the wrong person," O'Neill added. And for once Dave Bassett, the Sheffield manager, could say, "The controversy was not with us. Norwich lost their heads, not us. I have got to be pleased with the victory, the lads played very well." But they remain bottom.

At the top, Barnsley, beaten 5-0 at home last weekend, scored against Millwall after 77 seconds at the New Den through a crisp 10-yard shot by Neil Redfearn and defended the lead for the rest of the afternoon. The win puts them a point behind the Lions, who stay top.

All equal at Prenton Park where it finished 1-1 between Tranmere and third-placed Charlton, but only in sendings off. Shaun Teale and the visitors' Richard Rufus were dismssed in the goalless draw.

Not all of the short fuses were to be found on the pitch or in the tunnel. The Wolves manager Graham Taylor had some choice words for the the gentlemen of the Press at the post-match chat after Molineux had seen Grimsby blitzed 4-1. Steve Bull and Don Goodman scored two each.

"The nerve ends were jangling in the first 10 minutes and, if you lose confidence and belief in yourself, it's a big, big threat," Taylor said, referring to criticism of last week's loss at Leicester.

"I have to do my best to love the players a bit because it's easy to hammer them," he continued. "We were on the back pages last weekend because there were no Premiership matches, but there won't be as much praise after this game as there was criticism after last weekend's game."

Nor was George Burley, the Ipswich manager, altogether happy. His centre- back Steve Palmer was sent off in the 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield - "we will have to view the video before deciding whether to appeal," he said.

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