BBC pundits give verdict on controversial Nick Walsh cards in Rangers win at Motherwell
Nick Walsh got the decisions to send off Rangers defender Leon Balogun but not Motherwell’s Juhani Ojala right say Richard Foster and Leanne Crichton.
The Gers centre-back was shown a straight red in the 28th-minute of the 3-1 win at Fir Park for a crunching tackle on Dean Cornelius on the touchline.
Only a short time later the Well’s Finnish defender was only booked for a similar impact on Scott Wright, but although the force of both challenges was similar the exact manner was slightly different, so the BBC paid were satisfied with the referee’s decisions.
Asked if he felt the first was a sending off on BBC Sportscene Saturday night (23 April), Foster said: “I think it is, his [Balogun’s] foot rides over the top of the ball and he catches Cornelius just above the ankle.
“I think just the sheer force, I don’t think he had to go in with that much force, I think he was winning the ball anyway.
“We’ve seen it a few times. From that angle it doesn’t look great. I just don’t think the force was necessary, he could have just cleared the ball.
“I don’t think he means it because his foot rolls over the top of the ball but when you go in with that force and you catch a player that high then I think it’s a red card.”
On the Ojala tackle Crichton added: “What I think has gone in favour of the yellow card is the fact that Scott Wright’s actually turned his body and almost rolled with the momentum of the challenge.
“I think it might have been very different if he’d taken a different type of touch, maybe knocked the ball in front of him.
“I think consistency is what any fan watching the game would want, but I think on that occasion you’ve got to agree with Nick Walsh.”
Referees are constantly in the spotlight for the quality of their decisions in the SPFL but Walsh appeared to get all of the big ones right yesterday.
He also awarded Gers a penalty for a Bevis Mugabi foul on Fashion Sakala which essentially put the game to bed.
But it was the Light Blues who came off worse from the two card decisions, and probably rightly so.
Balogun’s tackle, whether deliberate or not, ultimately became a studs up challenge that could have done more damage as his foot made contact directly with Cornelius’ leg.
The difference with the second one was that Ojala’s studs were not up to the same extent and the majority of the force came with the knee of his trailing leg.
It could easily have been just as painful but on a technicality is not considered as dangerous.
In the end it did not make a difference, as a very impressive performance from a largely second string Gers side made light work of being down to 10 men, running out comfortable winners.