Mark Robinson has revealed that Nesta Guinness-Walker apologised to him after the red card he received in AFC Wimbledon’s 1-0 loss at Milton Keynes.
But the Dons head coach has described the sending off as “harsh.”
Guinness-Walker is the first player to be dismissed in 12 meetings between the clubs.
The 22-year-old left-back, who is due to be out of contract at the end of the season but is in talks with the Dons over a new deal, was issued with two yellow cards on Tuesday night within the space of 13 minutes at Stadium MK.
The South Londoners found themselves 1-0 down before Guinness-Walker’s dismissal, with Nik Tzanev’s loose pass allowing Mohamed Eisa and Scott Twine to set up Matt O’Reilly for the opener in the 28th minute.
On the yellow cards issued by referee Anthony Backhouse, Robinson told the South London Press: “They’re both fouls, but to get sent off at that stage of the game is harsh.
“You could argue that they’re both yellows, but I would also say that in 98 per cent of the games I have ever watched, the referee gives the player a stern warning and says: ‘One more time.’
“The referee’s reasoning [for the second yellow] was because the opposition player was through on goal, and that’s what has angered the players – it’s a staggering statement. He’s out wide, he has got 40 or 45 yards to get to goal, and we have got two centre-backs behind the ball. So if that’s his reasoning, that is a little frustrating.
“Of course, they’re both fouls, but if you have watched a lot of our home games, you have seen Ayoub Assal get dragged or pulled six times before someone even gets a booking – it feels harsh.
“Because we have to travel in two separate coaches, Nesta waited for me and came on to the coach and said how sorry he was.”
The Dons conceded the opener after Nik Tzanev played a clumsy pass to Mohamed Eisa right in front of his own goal. The Sudanese forward punished the Kiwi goalkeeper by finding Scott Twine, who played through Matt O’Riley to score the opener in the 28th minute.
Robinson said: “It was a misplaced pass initially. When you make an error at the back, the golden rule is that you don’t follow it up with another error because you very rarely get away with two, and that’s what we did.
“We have got to stop those sort of goals, as that’s not playing out and making a mistake, that’s just bad decision making in a situation where we need to just put it in the stand.
“Nik knows that, and we know that we have got to be better with our detail before that as well.”
When asked how Tzanev, who signed a new three-year deal at Plough Lane in the summer after establishing himself as number one last season, deals with making a mistake, Robinson said: “He copes with it because he knew straight away what he should have done.
“It hurt us, but it hurts them more than it hurts anyone. You just know that they have got to learn and not do it again. Nik has been excellent for us – he hasn’t done it before, and I’m sure it will be a long time before he does it again.”
Robinson believed they should have been awarded at least one penalty and described missing the first foul on Jack Rudoni “farcical.” Replays showed Warren O’Hora hauled down the Dons playmaker.
“It’s not good to waste energy on things that you can’t change, but the first one is farcical – it’s comedy,” said Robinson.
“The opposition player isn’t even looking at the ball, the cross has gone in, and he has literally just rugby-tackled Rudi. I don’t know how he hasn’t seen it and how it can’t be a penalty.”
Peter Kioso then committed a scissor tackle on Rudoni just inside the area.
“The old school part of me would have said it was a great challenge,” said Robinson. “But nine times out of 10 – and anywhere else on the pitch – it’s a foul.”
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