Referee `mistaken'

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The Independent Online
Alvin Martin's controversial sending-off against Sheffield Wednesday last week has been overturned. The threat of a three-match ban was yesterday removed from the West Ham defender, who collected the fourth red card of his career for a challenge o n MarkBright.

The referee, Paul Danson, decided he had mistakenly brought out the red card when Martin tumbled, bringing down Bright near the half-way line in a match West Ham lost 2-0 at Upton Park. The sending-off has been replaced by a caution for ungentlemanly conduct, and Martin will not now have to serve a three-match ban for serious foul play.

Meanwhile, the Portsmouth goalkeeper, Alan Knight, has abandoned plans to appeal to the FA following his sending-off in Saturday's FA Cup match with Leicester City.

Knight, who was dismissed for handling the ball outside his area, said: "I've watched a video of the incident over and over again, but I don't see the point of taking it further. The replay shows my hand may have been a couple of inches over the line, but in all that mud it was a job to see where the line actually was."

Cambridge have sacked Billy Manuel, rather than pay him while he sits out another long suspension. Gary Johnson, the Cambridge manager, and the club's directors took the decision following Manuel's sending-off at Brentford on Saturday, his third in five matches.

The Football Association is looking into crowd disturbances at Selhurst Park during crystal Palace's 4-0 Coca-Cola Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester City.

The Southampton full-back, Jeff Kenna, stands by for his first cap after being called into the Republic of Ireland squad to meet England in the European Championship warm-up game in Dublin on 15 February. Liam Daish, the Birmingham central defender, is recalled to the squad after an absence of three years.

With Phil Babb absent because of Liverpool's Coca-Cola Cup tie with Crystal Palace, Jack Charlton, the Ireland manager, has to decide whether Daish or Alan Kernaghan will partner Paul McGrath.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD (v England, Lansdowne Road, Dublin, 15 February): A Kelly (Sheffield Utd), Bonner (Celtic), Irwin (Manchester Utd), Kenna (Southampton), McGrath (Aston Villa), Daish (Birmingham), Kernaghan (Manchester City), G Kelly (Leeds Utd), Phelan (Manchester City), Houghton (Aston Villa, McAteer (Bolton), Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), McGoldrick (Arsenal), Staunton (Aston Villa), Keane (Manchester Utd), McLoughlin (Portsmouth), Townsend (Aston Villa), D Kelly (Wolves), Quinn (Manchester City), Aldridge (Tranmere), Cascarino (Marseille), Coyne (Motherwell).

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