Martin O’Neill has revealed that Nottingham Forest are considering appealing Yohan Benalouane’s red card, after the centre-back professed his innocence to O’Neill in the aftermath of Friday’s clash. Forest suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sheffield United and spent the second-half of the meeting with only 10 men after Benalouane was sent off.
The 32-year-old was given a straight red card by referee Andy Madley for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity in the 47th minute. David McGoldrick was adjudged to have been felled outside the area by Benalouane when he had a chance to score. However, the contract was minimal and Forest are arguing they had additional defensive cover that would negate McGoldrick having a ‘clear goalscoring opportunity’.
O’Neill told Nottinghamshire Live: “(Benalouane) is in the dressing room saying that he never touched the player and, having seen it back, it did not look as though he did. But the main bone of contention was whether Wague was in a position where he could cover and it looks, to me, like he would have been able to do that. I will genuinely have another look at it again, because we saw one particular angle that appeared to show that he did not make contact.
“We will have another look at it again and decide whether we want to appeal. The sending off has changed the game. I have seen it back briefly and, from my view point, it was very harsh. I felt that Wague would get round. I think the referee has said that the next thing he believed would happen is that (David) McGoldrick would have a shot on goal – I think Wague is on the cover. My view is that Benalouane would not have been the last man.”
It’s now four consecutive defeats for Forest in just over two weeks, having lost 2-1 to Rotherham United (April 6), 3-0 to Sheffield Wednesday (April 9), 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers (April 13) and 2-0 to United on Friday. The Reds currently sit 13th in the Championship table with 57 points from 43 games – a total they’ve been stuck on all month.
Forest are now mathematically out of the race for playoffs with O’Neill’s side 10 points adrift with only nine points available. Only Bolton Wanderers (3) have picked up fewer points than the East Midlands outfit since mid-March too.