Aidy Boothroyd said the foul for which Ishmel Demontagnac was sent off at Milton Keynes Dons was an unacceptable act – but that he also saw the incident coming moments before.
Town were beaten 2-0 at stadium:mk in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, with Demontagnac seeing red on 34 minutes time for a rash challenge on Dele Alli after he had lost possession.
The dismissal was fully deserved, but Boothroyd felt Alli should have been given marching orders of his own for a heavy challenge on Demontagnac – for which he was booked – and for which his number seven definitely sought revenge.
“Any manager worth his salt defends his players and there comes a time when players do things that are unacceptable,” said Boothroyd, who will – unsurprisingly - not appeal the red card.
“I saw that coming after the tackle Ish had on him from Dele Alli earlier in the game, which I thought was a sending-off offence.
“Even still, you don’t react like that, you don’t go looking for revenge because the referee will have his eye on it and will be looking for it.”
The Demontagnac dismissal changed the tone of the game, with Milton Keynes scoring twice in the second half to knock the Cobblers out of the JPT at the first hurdle.
Boothroyd, though, was keen to focus on the positive elements of his team’s play against a superior side and with a man advantage for more than half of the game.
“Yet again, a red card is dominating the agenda and it shouldn’t because we were the stronger team against a top-six league one side until we had the player sent off,” he said.
“We still had a game plan and we still thought we could get back into it.
“I couldn’t ask for any more from my players and 99 per cent of the fans could see they had a go.
“I think managers and supporters will accept that, if people have a go.
“There would a lot of really good performances in the side tonight and this is a club on the up.”