Lewes FC boss Tony Russell admits his troops may need to be more “streetwise” when it comes to handling games following the ill-tempered defeat to Hornchurch last week.
The Rooks went down 3-1 at Hornchurch but only after Tom Carlse and Razz Coleman De-Graft were substituted with nasty-looking injuries, and Mitchell Nelson was sent off for a clash.
Russell wasn’t pleased with the officiating and believes Hornchurch were quick to apply pressure on the referee.
And the boss admits it’s something he doesn’t like to see in the game.
“On Monday we were talking as a group about whether we need to start doing that. Do we need to start getting around referees and managing referees?” says Russell.
“If it was the other way around, and one of their players went head-to-head with one of ours, there’s no way on this earth they would have sent him off. They wouldn’t even have got a card – no way.
‘Refs need to dictate the game’
“Because I wouldn’t run down the touchline. Maybe we’ve got to be a bit more streetwise, send a member of the coaching staff down, push and shove and cause a big thing, scream and shout and indicate to the referee what he’s got to do.
“Because we’ve had this before at Bishop’s Stortford – a synchronised screaming at the referee, constantly questioning the decisions.
“It’s not even Hornchurch to blame because they’re a good side and it’s part of the game, I get it. But it’s also part of the game that you’re told to respect the referees.
“We don’t want the players running around the referees, but it’s hard to explain to the players not to do that when they’re seeing other teams getting advantage from it.
“If the referees want respect then they need to respect themselves, and not allow people to dictate what goes on in a game of football. They need to dictate the game. Until they do that, how can I or anyone give them respect?”
East Thurrock ‘battling’ for points
The loss last weekend saw Lewes drop back to fourth in the Isthmian Premier League table, but they can bounce back against second-bottom East Thurrock on Saturday.
Lewes head into the 3pm kick-off light on numbers due to injuries and a suspension, and are out for revenge after losing 2-0 to East Thurrock back in November.
And Russell is wary of what this weekend’s visitors will bring to the Dripping Pan.
“They’re fighting for their lives and battling,” he adds.
“Their new manager has gone in there and we’ve got a report on them – it’s going to be tricky. They’re playing well and we’ve got a few injuries and a suspension.
“So it’s just about working out who we’ve got available. We’ve got to get going again now and just wipe last Saturday from our memory and move forward.
“We’re back home in front of a crowd and if you can come down in your numbers and cheer us on, I’d really appreciate it. We all the support we can get.
“Let’s see if we can get these three points and get back onto the winning trail again.”
Lewes vs East Thurrock tickets
Lewes FC tickets for the game, which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, are available to buy online (at a discount) or on the gate.
Ticket prices on the gate are as follows:
Adults – £12 general admittance
Concessions – £8 general admittance
Kids (under 16) – free!
Beach hut for six people – £99 SOLD OUT