Life comes at you fast. One minute, you’re condemning Afolayan for being a thug; the next, the boot is on the other foot as your own star defender is banned for three matches.
This has been in the post since Joey Barton sent the video to the FA, and the truth is we can have zero complaints. We drew attention to Afoloayan’s elbow, and we got him suspended. Montsma has thrown an elbow in the direction of their player; it’s been caught on camera.
It’s a blow, Lewis has been excellent since returning, but our strong defensive record hasn’t entirely relied on him, and we should navigate his ban without too much fuss. TJ can play on one side of the central defender, or we might see Joe Walsh if he’s fit. Of course, if Lewis is available, he plays, but such is life – if you commit the crime, you do the time.
You can see here what happened in this VHS-style video I have uploaded. There’s a tussle as the two players go into the box, their lad holds onto Lewis, and Lewis pushes him off. I think it’s more a hand than an elbow, but that’s irrelevant. I said that their elbow, the one they got a red for, was punishable whether it lands on the ribs, armpit or face, and the same goes for this – it doesn’t matter whether it’s an elbow, hand or fist: it’s a raised arm, thrown at another player aggressively. No complaints.
I have a complaint about the FA, though – we were charged and fined £3750 for surrounding the referee during our EFL Trophy defeat against Accrington. In the final minutes, they were punished for a foul on Ben House but claimed House had used an elbow, which he hadn’t. They surrounded the referee, and in response, we did the same. Accrington accepted the charge and were fined £2500. We contested it and got a bigger fine, despite winning the free kick, despite not having a player booked in the incident (which Accrington did) and despite not being the initial aggressors.
I knew I could find something to criticise the FA for if I tried. Sadly, for everyone concerned, it cannot be for the Montsma decision.