Whittingham: We’re not a dirty side

Stevenage's Filipe Morais recovers with his face in the ground as Gavin Mahon stands over him after the clash which saw the Pompey midfielder sent off in the second half Picture: Joe Pepler
Stevenage's Filipe Morais recovers with his face in the ground as Gavin Mahon stands over him after the clash which saw the Pompey midfielder sent off in the second half Picture: Joe Pepler

Guy Whittingham leapt to the defence of his team and vowed: We’re not dirty.

Gavin Mahon become the fourth Pompey player to be sent off this season in Saturday’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Stevenage.

The midfielder was dismissed for flooring Borough’s Filipe Morais with a leading arm, which left referee Gary Sutton with no alternative but to give him his marching orders.

His second-half red card follows Johnny Ertl, David Connolly and Yassin Moutaouakil as Blues players to have been dismissed.

Whittingham had no complaint with the decision, but was annoyed Stevenage defender Jon Ashton was not penalised for flooring substitute Connolly.

And the Pompey boss launched an impassioned defence of his side, insisting they aren’t a malicious outfit.

Whittingham said: ‘The red cards aren’t a reflection of our team.

‘If you look at Johnny Ertl’s sending off, it was nowhere near a red card.

‘Yassin Moutaouakil’s red was because of what he did, the same with David Connolly.

‘And Gavin has left himself open to it with that challenge.

‘Gavin has caught him with leading arm rather than swinging his elbow.

‘I thought he did well, otherwise.

‘He competed well and that is what he is out there to do.

‘Although we went in 2-0 down at the break, I thought he did well in the central-midfield area.

‘He will compete and go in wholeheartedly.

‘I don’t think he went in to do the guy but, unfortunately, when you lead with your arm, if you catch them or not, you run the risk of a red card.

‘I don’t think I need to say anything to him about it.

‘David Connolly has been caught with a swinging arm, has a fat lip from it, and that was right in front of the linesman. That was disappointing.

‘But we’re not a dirty side at all.’

Whittingham was also left frustrated by what he saw as a lack of professionalism from the match officials, after their microphones failed to work during the game.

The Pompey boss was informed that was the case before kick-off, paving the way for the issue to have an impact on a number of incidents throughout the clash.

‘The ref’s microphone wasn’t working,’ said Whittingham.

‘So he couldn’t communicate with the fourth official who could talk with me. His earpiece wasn’t working. We were asking for them to play on for a couple of seconds after a little foul on our players. He couldn’t relay that.

‘The fourth official thought Jed Wallace won the ball for his booking, but couldn’t say that to the ref because he wasn’t microphoned up.

‘Surely he could be saying something verbally.

‘It’s a professional game but they haven’t been professional from that point of view.

‘I wouldn’t like to be out there in a tough game, but you should make sure your equipment is working.

‘I won’t castigate an official. They try their best, but they have to have help. That may be them being miked up or the linesman making brave decisions to help the man in the middle.’