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AFC Bournemouth: Dorset ref Pottage placed in eye of Paul Ince storm
DORSET referee Mark Pottage was at the centre of controversy during Cherries’ incident-packed clash with Blackpool on Saturday.
Pottage, who was fourth official at Dean Court, was instrumental as Blackpool manager Paul Ince was banished to the stands during the second half of their 2-1 victory.
Gillingham-based Pottage called over referee Oliver Langford after Ince had reacted in frustration to Nathan Delfouneso missing a gilt-edged chance to score for the Tangerines.
The former England and Manchester United star hurled a water bottle to the ground which inadvertently bounced up and struck a female steward who had been sitting in the crowd.
Following a discussion between Pottage and Langford, Ince was asked to leave the technical area and was forced to watch the rest of the game from a seat in the directors’ box in the Main Stand.
Ince’s dismissal came after Blackpool had been reduced to 10 men following the sending off of defender Jack Robinson for two yellow cards, a decision the visiting management had also been unhappy with.
Although Ince did not attend a post-match press conference to take questions on either flashpoint, his assistant Alex Rae said the Blackpool boss had “apologised immediately” to the steward.
Unconfirmed reports suggested the incident may have spilled over in the tunnel with Ince and Pottage understood to have allegedly clashed as the teams left the pitch.
When approached by the Daily Echo as he left the ground, referee Langford politely declined to comment, as did an AFC Bournemouth club official.
Speaking to the Echo yesterday, an FA spokesperson said they would assess the referee’s report before deciding whether any further action would be taken.
Asked by the Echo why Ince had been asked to leave the technical area, Rae replied: “We had an opportunity to score to make it 3-1 and he threw a bottle on the ground and it bounced off the ground and went into the crowd.
“The fourth official made the decision to send him to the stand so we just move on from that. The manager went over to apologise to the lady immediately because it hit her on the foot, I think. Someone said she had accepted his apology. It wasn’t as if it was thrown directly into the crowd, it bounced off the floor.”
And asked by the Echo whether Ince had been aggrieved with his dismissal, Rae replied: “I would have thought it was a wee bit harsh. You have the hoardings and then a little red barrier and it bounced through the barrier. We were not happy with it.”
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