EFL pundits deliver verdict on Mark Sykes’ red card, referee Trevor Kettle and Aiden McGeady goal after Sunderland's win over Oxford

EFL pundit Clinton Morrison believes Oxford midfielder Mark Sykes was harshly booked during his side’s 3-1 defeat at Sunderland – a decision which later led to the player being sent off.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 2:00 pm

Tensions were running high at the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats came from 1-0 down courtesy of goals from Lynden Gooch, Aiden McGeady and Max Power.

Sykes was sent off when the sides were level, when he was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Luke O’Nien.

Oxford boss Karl Robinson also received a red card in the closing stages.

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In addition to that, police were called to the ground following claims Oxford goalkeeper Jack Stevens was headbutted at half-time.

When discussing the main talking points on the EFL’s highlights show on quest, pundit Ali Maxwell said: “I think we heard it from the managers there, there’s an alleged incident involving the Oxford goalkeeper being headbutted by we think a member of the coaching staff of Sunderland. That’s what has been alleged, there are a lot of rumours flying around.

“It wasn’t just carnage off the field as well because on it, it was a brilliant game of football with some brilliant goals, but I think the refereeing of Trevor Kettle allowed things to boil over.

“Karl Robinson was pretty fuming about that aside from anything that happened in the tunnel.”

Aiden McGeady scores against Oxford.

Former Crystal Palace striker Morrison was also a studio guest and spoke to Robinson after the match.

Both felt that Sykes’ first yellow card for a tackle on Power was the wrong decision.

“He’s disappointed with the Sykes sending off,” said Morrison when recalling his conversation with Robinson. “The first one he says is not a yellow, he says he gets the ball and I totally agree with him. He does get the ball.

“He said the second one, if he’s got booked for the first one then it is a sending off.

“But the first one is not a foul, he (Power) makes a meal of it and it’s not a foul and it’s 100 per cent not a yellow card.”

The Oxford bench were also unhappy about McGeady’s goal which put Sunderland ahead, after a free-kick was taken quickly in the build-up.

Complaints were made as midfielder Cameron Brannagan was on the ground when the set-piece was taken, yet the goal was allowed to stand.

“They take the free-kick quickly, probably not from where the foul takes place,” said Maxwell. “That’s not something I would be hugely concerned about.

“Then there’s the fact that Branagan was down injured, the referee looks at him and decides not to stop the game, we are led to believe you should only stop the game if there is a head injury so I’m not sure if that’s wrong not to stop the game.

“At this point emotions were just so high and there was no control on the game whatsoever.”

On McGeady’s goal, Morrison added: “That’s a good goal, it’s a great goal from McGeady and that goal should stand.”

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