MICK Wadsworth has leapt to the defence of “nice guy” Gary Liddle but admits his straight red card during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Swindon Town was fully deserved.
The Pools midfielder was given his marching orders in the second half for a reckless challenge on Robins defender Paul Caddis and will now serve a three-game suspension.
Liddle had crunched his way through a series of tackles until that point, but the mis-timed 54th-minute lunge left Wadsworth with no cause to dispute referee Pat Miller’s swift decision.
“I can understand the sending-off,” the Pools chief said.
“But there was no malice in it – he’s not that sort of player.
“Yes, the challenge was late, but he’s genuinely going for the ball and the main thing I stress is that there was no intent to hurt the player.
“Gary’s a genuinely nice guy and I think people realise that.
“Sometimes these challenges happen – we had one on Tony Sweeney a few weeks back. They’re not pretty but when there’s no intent you’ve just got to move on.
“Thankfully the player was okay though.”
The dismissal paved the way for the hosts to find a way back into the game with Matt Ritchie levelling.
And Liddle was waiting to apologise to his team-mates when they returned to the away-team dressing room after the full-time whistle.
“Gary was beside himself, he felt he had let the team down,” added Wadsworth.
“That’s a responsible standpoint but the rest of the lads understood the situation.
“He went for the ball like he normally does – he wins probably more tackles for us than anyone else.”
Swindon: Smith, Caddis, Frampton, Jean-Francois, Sheehan, McGovern (N’Diaye 71), Douglas, Prutton, Ritchie, Benyon (Grella 79), Andrew. Subs Not Used: Jefionkowski, Cuthbert, Rose, Ferry, Timlin. Goals: Ritchie 67.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Haslam, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, McSweeney, Liddle, Gamble, Murray, Monkhouse (Bjornsson 76), Larkin (Humphreys 72). Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Behan, Boyd, Yantorno, Mackay. Sent Off: Liddle (54). Booked: Monkhouse, McSweeney, Humphreys. Goals: Horwood 37.
Att: 7,146 Ref: Pat Miller (Bedfordshire).