Paul Warne admitted his substitution of Michael Ihiekwe was to avoid the Rotherham defender seeing red in tonight’s 1-1 draw at Charlton – with referee Scott Oldham opting againt dishing out a second caution just minutes before his removal.
The Millers player had already been booked shortly before he felled Alex Gilbey as he looked to break into a dangerous position in the final third.
But Oldham only gave the foul. And Warne quickly acted to take Ihiekwe off.
“That was very tactical,” said the Rotherham manager. “I spoke to the fourth official and Ikky about the foul. He said that for the second he got the ball first and a bit of the man second – it was still a foul but not a booking.
“Which, in fairness, I thought he was going. Even more so when you’re the away team and all the Charlton fans want him sent off. I understand that, I’d be the same if I was a fan.
“Stockley caught Rathbone and the ref decided he didn’t want to see that either because that would’ve been a problem – he was on a yellow as well.
“I didn’t think it was a dirty game. A red card would have have spoiled it from a spectator point of view. That’s what people come to watch – not the panto refs.”
Rotherham stretched their unbeaten run to 12 matches but saw Conor Washington cancel out Mikel Miller’s opener.
“We probably weren’t at our scintillating best but that’s credit to Charlton,” said Warne. “They played really well and caused us problems. They stopped our midfield being as fluent as normal and it was an end-to-end competitive game.
“If you’d offered me a point beforehand, would I have taken it? Possibly. Charlton are a top-six team, so a point here could end up being a really good point for us.
“I’m not a liar and I said in my press this week if you finish above Charlton at least you’ll be in the play-offs…at least.
“They have got a massive threat with Stockley, as we do with Smith. They have got quality and experience throughout the back line.
“I’d have loved to have played them two weeks ago. The crowd got right behind them in a short of honeymoon atmosphere for the home team. It was difficult for us and I knew it would be.
“You can see they [Charlton’s players] want the caretaker to get the job on a performance like that.”
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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