Date:Saturday March 20 2010
Ashley Westwood and former Alex striker Luke Rodgers both saw red after tempers flared late on in today's match against Notts County.
A frustrated Rodgers had spent the preceding 20 minutes being jeered by Alex fans, getting caught offside and missing a glorious goal scoring opportunity before taking his frustration out on Westwood.
After being pulled back rather aggressively by Rodgers, Westwood retaliated and so total mayhem ensued. The resulting scrap involving all players on the pitch also saw both managers take to the pitch - Dario to calm things down, Steve Cotterill to have his own spat with Steve Phillips.
As things began to calm the referee issued a straight red to Ashley Westwood and to the astonishment of Alex fans gave Rodgers just a yellow. Rightly the decision was changed to a red after the fourth official pulled the referee to the side to give his version of events.
Over all it was a slightly petty scrap (aren't they all in football?) that was instigated by Luke Rodgers. The former Shrewsbury man had clearly been rattled by the Crewe sections, who saw their biggest cheer when Rodgers went tumbling over an advertising board earlier in the match.
It didn't excuse Rodgers reaction though and it's frightening that the referee even had a hesitation in sending Rodgers off. Westwood too cannot be defended, he retaliated and got the appropriate punishment. We know what Rodgers is like and you have to refrain from taking the bait.
After the match Dario Gradi had his say. Speaking to BBC Radio Stoke and CreweAlex.net he said he referee made the right decision after tempers boiled over:
'Luke attacked Ashley . I have no doubt about that, and Ashley has retaliated, which he shouldn't have done. The referee got it right in the end though, if he was going to send Ashley off then he had to send Luke off.
'I was on the pitch, but I was in control of what I was doing.'
Dario also had word for the Alex faithful. A huge cheer went up when Rodgers had earlier literally ran himself off the pitch, going head over heels over the top of a advertising board. No relation to the scrap, Dario felt that fans were wrong to react in such a way.
'I was horrified at the crowd when he went over the advertising boards. They cheered and that disgusted me. Anything could have happened to him and I was alarmed. There is no need for that. To me that is not what football is about.'
Overall Dario felt that there was something for the taking from the game.
'We definitely have a lapse at the back for their goal.We can do that week in and week out and we are harder to beat, but we are losing games we should be drawing and drawing games we should be winning.'
And so Dario has his say for this week.
Not quite sure I agree with his pop at the crowd reaction to Rodgers. It's football, very few would actually wish Rodgers come to real harm but it's something that happens at every football ground every week.
Dario at the moment just comes across as a miserable old man wishing to talk about 'the good old days' of football [fans]. It's the second week running he has spoken out against Crewe fans' reaction when he should be more focussed on the team.
Football fans are football fans. The atmosphere at a football ground dictates Rodgers got a ribbing for going over the advertising board. Time to get used to it Dario.
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Date:Saturday March 20 2010
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