Royle 'exasperated' by red card

A NOT-so-silently fuming Joe Royle was left “exasperated” and trying to bite his tongue after the Blues were on the rough end of a sending off and a 3-1 loss at Preston last night.

By Derek Davis

A NOT-so-silently fuming Joe Royle was left “exasperated” and trying to bite his tongue after the Blues were on the rough end of a sending off and a 3-1 loss at Preston last night.

With the threat of FA action hanging over him if he said what he thought, Royle restricted himself to saying that the game summed up a season of “injuries and sendings-off”.

The game was ruined when Richard Naylor was sent off after just 10 minutes for a professional foul on the goal-bound Brett Ormerod.

But the Blues were also angry that they had been awarded a throw-in, and not a corner, moments earlier. Preston gained possession from the throw, counter-attacked - and Naylor clashed with Ormerod.

Royle said: “I'm totally exasperated. The referee has agreed to look at the video again but I don't know whether to be hopeful or not.

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“The tape clearly shows Ormerod mis-controls the ball and the lad is on his way down before Naylor is anywhere near him. It is not a sending-off.

“I was also disappointed at the way the Preston player reacted and tried to get Richard sent off.

“I can't say what I really want to say, but I'm exasperated. That was the start of things to come but I can't go too much into the performance of the officials or I will get myself into trouble. I'm trying hard to bite my tongue.

“Our front two were causing them problems and worrying them and were being taken out, with no fouls being given.”

Town will today appeal the sending-off and referee Eddie Ilderton, who has taken charge of seven Preston games while the Lilywhites have won five and drawn two, has agreed to look at the incident.

If the appeal fails Naylor will definitely miss the Crystal Palace match, and could get a two-match ban as it is his second red card of the season. Although down to 10 men Ipswich took the lead through skipper Jason de Vos in the first half but Preston hit back with three second-half goals.

David Nugent struck twice before limping off and his replacement Patrick Agyemang wrapped up the precious play-off points for Preston.

Royle said: “Jason was superb throughout but in the end the extra man tells when we are playing with 10 men against - well, however many.

“It was an important game for both teams but it was ruined as a contest by the sending-off. But sad to say it has been a season of injuries and sendings-off.”

Royle admitted the Blues promotion hopes were now lying in tatters but vowed they would keep plugging away.

He said: “It is going to be very hard now but we have a duty to get as many points as we can and finish as high as we can and to entertain our fans - hopefully with 11 men on the pitch.”

North End manager Billy Davies wanted to look at the tape himself before saying anything about the sending-off and also refused to discuss their play-off chances after leapfrogging Wolves back into sixth place.

He said: “I will have to look at the tape before saying too much although Joe was trying to bully the referee all night. We should have been two-up early on but then we defended poorly to lose a goal.

“We changed things at half-time and upped the tempo and in the end got a very important three points.”

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