BOTTLE JOB’S GOT MAC MAD
GRANT McCann believes a ‘bottle’ job from fourth official Rob Smith nearly cost his side a share of the spoils after Peterborough midfielder Jermaine Anderson received a bizarre red card.
After a lifeless first half, Romaine Sawyers put the Saddlers ahead with a stunning strike on 53 minutes, but substitute Michael Bostwick hit a late leveller after being brought down by Neil Etheridge.
But in an extraordinary end to the game, Anderson saw red moments before Bostwick’s equaliser for throwing a water bottle into the crowd – though seemingly without intent – and then Sam Mantom was denied a Saddlers winner by the crossbar.
The fiasco grated with caretaker boss McCann, who is expected to remain in charge into next week after Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony revealed he’d whittled down his managerial shortlist to two men.
“For me, it was a ridiculous decision,” said McCann. “The physio gave him some water to help his cramp and he just threw the bottle back, missed the physio and it went into the crowd. The fourth official spoke to the referee and said it was violent conduct.
“It was a decision I’ve never seen before in my life and we will definitely appeal it. Hopefully common sense will prevail.
“We had some good opportunities and could have won the game, but probably a fair result in the end.
“I’m loving the job. I’m always learning. It would be foolish to say I’m not learning every day. I’ll speak to the chairman later and I’m sure I’ll know a bit more then.”
Reece Flanagan found space on the edge of the area early on, but the Walsall midfielder dragged his shot inches past Ben Alnwick’s left-hand post.
Erhun Oztumer came closest for the home side in the first half, but his curling 20-yard effort was saved by Etheridge.
The game livened up in the 53rd minute after Sawyers picked up the ball and fired a 25-yard screamer into the top corner.
It looked as if the scoreline would stay that way until a last madcap five minutes, starting with Anderson’s bizarre red card ant the hands of referee Mark Heywood and fourth official Smith.
Posh rallied moments later as substitute Bostwick smashed home the penalty after being upended by Etheridge. In the dying moments Alnwick pulled off a great save from Sawyers and Mantom struck the bar, but Posh held on.
“I’m feeling a bit deflated, it feels like a defeat,” said Walsall boss Dean Smith, whose side missed out on the chance to go top of League One.
“How we haven’t won that, I don’t know.We took the lead with a great strike, we controlled the game for long periods but possibly didn’t work their goalkeeper as much as we should.
“Then their lad (Anderson) gets sent off. I feel sorry for him, but you can’t do that.
“He didn’t mean to, but he’s just flung the bottle into the crowd. It could have taken somebody’s eye out.”