Johnson calls on referees to protect wingers
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 19 August 2013
ATHLETIC manager Lee Johnson has come out swinging in defence of his roughed-up wingers, claiming they need more protection by referees.
For the second away game in succession, the opposition substituted a full-back — in this case Craig Alcock — for fear he would be sent off.
Already on a yellow card for a foul on Cristian Montano, Alcock’s studs-up challenge in the second half on the same player went unpunished.
So livid was Johnson at referee Tony Harrison’s inaction that he was involved in a heated argument with Peterborough’s assistant manager Kevin Russell as the home side stated their case.
“Their feet are too quick for defenders,” said Johnson of his wing whippets Montano and James Dayton, “It is the way Cristian and Dayts suck them in. How Peterborough’s left-back Kgosi Ntlhe wasn’t booked, I will never know.
“He must have made around nine block fouls as we were just about to penetrate and got away with it.
“It is clever play, as they snuffed out the game. It is twice now that the opposition have had to take off their full-backs due to our wingers being too good.”
On the second-half kerfuffle which followed as Montano crumpled to the floor clutching an ankle — not for the first time in the game — Johnson was unrepentant.
“You protect what you think is right and I will do that to anyone, I don’t care who it is. I may be 5ft 6in, but when I am like that I feel 7ft 6in.”
And Montano himself was also clearly unhappy at his treatment during the tight contest.
Athletic expect to have ex-Posh teenager Jonson Clarke-Harris (ankle) back in contention for a place in the squad for the visit of Port Vale on Saturday. The same may be true for David Mellor.
With those two back, plus loanee Burnley defender Joseph Mills, Johnson is positive Athletic can quickly narrow the gap on the early front-runners in Sky Bet League One.
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