Gillingham boss Neil Harris stunned by Charlie Kelman dismissal

Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2022 by PA

Gillingham boss Neil Harris stunned by Charlie Kelman dismissal

Gobsmacked Gillingham boss Neil Harris could not understand why striker Charlie Kelman was sent off in the goalless draw at home to Fleetwood.

Referee James Linington showed both Kelman and Fleetwood winger Paddy Lane straight red cards for the same challenge – something Harris insisted he had never seen before – in the 78th minute.

The hard-hitting collision left Lane needing treatment that delayed the restart of the game by six minutes, but Harris insisted he was the player more at fault in the feisty contest between the relegation-threatened sides.

Harris said: “I’ve had the opportunity to see it at full speed and from two different angles and, unless there’s more footage that shows me that Charlie is out of control, then I don’t think it’s a red card.

“We hope Paddy Lane is OK first and foremost, but he’s two-footed and off the floor, so I can see why that’s a red card.

“But, had two yellow cards been shown, everybody would have shaken hands and moved on.

“I’ve never seen two red cards for the same challenge before in all my years in the game. I’m bewildered and I don’t really get that decision.

“I spoke to the referee: he was good enough to give me some of his time after the game, but we agreed to disagree.”

Kelman arguably had the best chance of the game late in the first half when he found himself unmarked four yards out, but the QPR loanee miscued his header.

The result leaves Gillingham 20th, with Fleetwood – who have a game in hand – just one place and a point behind in Sky Bet League One.

It was the second draw of the Easter weekend for the Gills, after they were twice pegged back in the 2-2 stalemate at Cheltenham on Good Friday, and despite sitting just outside the relegation zone, Harris wants more from his men.

He added: “For me, this weekend has been a missed opportunity for us, not to pick up more points than the two we got.

“I can’t keep sugar-coating things for the players: I told them directly that we should play better and win the game.

“If you had said to me two-and-a-half months ago we would be outside the relegation zone at this stage I’d have been buzzing.

“But I want us to play better and I expected us to win that game today.”

Fleetwood boss Stephen Crainey praised his side’s mentality after gaining a point that leaves them with “three cup finals” to keep them in the third tier.

The Cod Army conceded three goals in 16 first-half minutes in the 3-2 defeat to Oxford three days ago but kept their fate in their own hands after battling to a draw.

Crainey said: “The mentality was outstanding today. If we didn’t stand up here we would have been punished.

“The first 15 minutes against Oxford on Friday really killed us, so we need to maintain today’s standards if we’re going to remain in this league.

“We’ve got three cup finals between now and the end of the season.”

On the red-card incident, Crainey suggested both players did not need to be sent-off, while revealing there was no update on the injury status of Lane.

He added: “It’s just a coming together. From the touchline, it looked like an old-school challenge involving two fully committed players, so maybe it was a little bit harsh to send both players off.

“It’s too early to say how Paddy is as he’s still with the medical team – his welfare is the most important thing, so we hope he’s going to be OK.”


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