In Albion's last two games we've seen both ourselves go down to ten men when Jamie Murphy saw red at Bolton, and a week earlier the roles were reversed when Wolves had a man dismissed.
As a defender, for a back four it's probably easier when your side goes down to ten men. The opponents will have more possession, but you know that you need to go to a 4-4-1. If you're losing then obviously it's hard because you have to go for it a little bit, but if you're drawing or winning then you know you're shutting up shop, parking the bus.
You basically go to two banks of four with one up top. There is no way if I was playing in a team and we were down to ten men, that the full backs will be bombing on. I'd be telling the full backs to sit in. Also the wide midfielders, if one of them goes to support the forward upfront on his own, as soon as play breaks down they have to get back in their slot, otherwise it can cost you.
They were underneath were our away fans were sat in the tier below. So Hinsh and I sat behind the goal like a couple of idiots. The Millwall fans stood there giving everyone stick, and Hinsh and I were getting it as well!
Adam Hinshelwood and I were both injured when we won with ten men at Millwall in Dean Wilkins's first game in charge. I remember there weren’t enough spaces on the bench behind the dugout, so the steward said to us, "The only seats available is in the bottom row behind the goal."
When I was at Eastleigh we found ourselves playing against ten men a few times and all the opposition used to do was get everyone behind the ball; it would be so frustrating because we'd have so much possession but we just couldn't get the ball through people. What we did in the end to combat it, was to go long and play the ball direct into the box and bypass that midfield. So you’re not trying to thread balls through them because it's near enough impossible. That is what Bolton reverted to and it worked.
A lot of the time you see Bobby Zamora come on when we’re under pressure late on, and you need someone like Bobby, who’s quite tall, strong, and can hold the ball up in those situations.
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The very next game John Durnin only went and got sent off for hitting someone and we lost the game, so Terry Fenwick went mad after the game and said to us all that silly sendings offs were costing us the games, "So I am going to fine those two lads!"
To this day I still think he pulled the red card out by mistake. I was shocked, and we both looked up at the card and I swear he was thinking that he pulled out the wrong colour card... but he knew he couldn't change his mind! After that incident he was like my best mate in every match he refereed, so I am sure it was a mistake!
D'Urso called me over and because I hadn’t been booked, I thought I'd be okay. Then he pulled out a red card!
I've had a couple of funny sendings off. My first ever game as Portsmouth captain we were playing Cardiff in the cup. I went up for a header and it was a proper good challenge, I won the ball, and the referee Andy D’Urso suddenly gave a free-kick on the edge of the box and the player curled it top corner. Annoyed, I ran up to the ref and said "I can’t believe you’ve given that; that's never been a bloody free-kick!"
The feeling of winning with ten is great, it's the same feeling as beating a really good Premier League team, it's unexpected, so the celebrations are a bit more special. I’ve actually played with nine before which is even weirder!
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