"The ref's made a big mistake, and massively impacted the game," says Millington after contentious red card in Halifax's draw with Southend

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Halifax manager Chris Millington said referee Paul Marsden made a big mistake and massively impacted the game by sending off Luke Summerfield in Town's 1-1 draw with Southend at The Shay.

Wes Fonguck had put Southend ahead before Summerfield was shown a straight red card, but Town fought back to earn a point thanks to Adam Senior's equaliser.

"I just don't get it," Millington said on Summerfield's sending off. "The referee's probably not helped himself by just going to his pocket immediately, he's not really given himself any time to make such a big decision.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I'm going to speak to him at the earliest possible opportunity and I'll be interested to hear why he's been so quick to go to his card and not weigh up the situation and what had happened.

Chris MillingtonChris Millington
Chris Millington

"Luke Summerfield was clotheslined by him, he's been hit in the windpipe and he's flinched, and the referee thinks that that flinch is an attack on him.

"It's absolutely clear from the footage I've just been shown that it isn't that.

"We know there's not a player in this squad who would verbally abuse a referee let alone physically abuse a referee and then when you take it to the next level, Luke Summerfield is the least likely person I've ever met to do either of those things.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The ref's made a big mistake, and massively impacted the game, but hopefully he'll learn from it and we won't experience that when he's here the next time."

Millington said the club are likely to appeal the red card.

"My instinct is that we will," he said, "I can't see how it can possibly be upheld when the referee has clotheslined a player, it seems like an easy one to fix on behalf of the FA."

Should Summerfield's dismissal stand, Millington said he could potentially be suspended for longer than three games.

"If the referee's suggesting that he's physically attacked him then god knows what they could do," he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Town boss felt his side deserved something out of the game.

"It was a game of two halves wasn't it, although they've only really had the one serious opportunity in the first-half they were definitely the better team," Millington said.

"I thought we looked a bit tired, a bit leggy, I'm not exactly sure why that is, but I definitely felt that was the case in the first-half.

"It looked like we were going to start the second-half bright and then they wrestled control and then scored.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The sending-off has changed the game, but I think in some respects it's galvanised us and given us a bit of adversity to fight against.

"It can sometimes help you to have more of a common enemy than just the opposition and today we did, we had the opposition and the officials gave us something to overcome as well with some of their decisions."

The Shaymen had no shots on target or off target in an awful first-half.

"We couldn't keep possession, I don't know what was wrong with us. We were very, very sloppy when we regained the ball," Millington said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We weren't as sharp in terms of what we did without the ball, which felt uncharacteristic, and when we regained it, we had two or three really good passages of play to get us into the opposition half but then we turned over possession really quickly when we regained it and countered, we gave it them back way too quickly.

"It wasn't through any good work of Southend, it was just poor, sloppy play on our part.

"I can't quite put my finger yet on why that was, we'll have a good review and look at the last few days and this morning's preparation to see if there's anything we could've done differently to increase the energy levels.

"But the paradox there is when Luke Summerfield's got sent-off, all of a sudden it looks like they've had a real boost of energy and they've come out fighting."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On Southend's goal, Millington said: "I think it looked soft, but as we're speaking now I've not seen it back and I've not had a clear image of how they worked it, but it did look like a soft goal to concede."

Town roused themselves though, and showed admirable spirit to salvage a point.

"That would have been a shift on any day but given the temperatures and the challenge that brings, it was a mammoth effort on behalf of the lads," Millington said.

"I make a lot about this being a young group of players, they're all learning and hopefully they'll learn from today.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The togetherness they've got, the work ethic they've got, the desire to do well will mean they can overcome real tough situations throughout the season because we know there'll be more at different stages and they've got this experience to call upon to remind them how to overcome difficulties."

The game was watched by Town's first 2,000-plus crowd of the season.

"Brilliant, and I thought they were great," said Millington. "We've had experiences in the past where we've maybe not been at our brightest in the first-half and the crowd's been quick to let us know but I thought they stayed right behind the lads, really encouraged them and played their part in getting a positive reaction to a really challenging situation with the red card.

"I thought they were phenomenal and building on what was an unbelievable amount of support that we got away at Rochdale, it's great we can have that as well at The Shay."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On the absence of Jamie Cooke, due to a knee injury, the Town boss said: "He should hopefully be back available for next Saturday, it's nothing serious but we didn't want to make it anymore serious."

And on Max Wright's absence, Millington said: "Similar really, just precautionary and we felt, given the conditions today and the chance for dehydration and related knocks and niggles, he'd be best to rest.

"He was feeling a bit of tightness so we felt, rather than potentially make that worse, we'd veer on the side of caution."

Midfielders Florent Hoti and Kane Thomson-Sommers are nearing a return to fitness.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"They're both doing well," Millington said, "both took part in a session yesterday, very light match prep session, but the positive is they both took part in it, so they're getting closer."

On any prospect of former Town striker Billy Waters returning to the club after he was left out of Wrexham's squad list, Millington said: "We would have loved to have had him back but unfortunately Wrexham are subject to the transfer window so as soon as the window shut, any chance of us getting him was over."

And on the prospect of any new signings, the Town boss said: "Not at the moment. There's one or two lads in training with us but nothing of note."