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Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson has no complaints over Mark Sykes’ red card

Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson (Richard Sellers/PA)
Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson (Richard Sellers/PA)

Nigel Pearson had no complaints over the Mark Sykes sending off that marred Bristol City’s first Sky Bet Championship win of the season.

But the Ashton Gate boss felt Luton’s Luke Freeman should also have been red carded for his reaction to the lunging 67th-minute tackle on him that caused a fracas among several players.

Nahki Wells shot the home side ahead on five minutes from Alex Scott’s pass and Tommy Conway fired in from Andreas Weimann’s 28th-minute cross to reward a dominant first-half display.

It was only after Sykes was sent off that Luton came into the game. Freeman appeared to barge him over with his chest in retaliation and referee Lee Doughty decided a yellow card was sufficient for the Luton player.

Pearson said: “In the modern game, I can’t complain about Mark’s red card, although in my time as a player I would probably have been applauding him for the tackle.

“But how their player stayed on the pitch I don’t know. Officials have influenced all our games so far and tonight we should have had a penalty when Rob Atkinson was fouled.

“I have empty pockets because of expressing my views on refereeing decisions over the years, so I gave it up long ago.

“I would rather talk about a really positive performance from a team including a lot of young players offering real encouragement for the future.

“Our fans have gone home having seen a display of real commitment and I am happy for them because we have caused them quite a bit of frustration.

“Tonight we didn’t make the mistakes that hurt us in our first home game against Sunderland and even after the sending-off we coped well defensively.”

Luton remain without a win in four Championship games and boss Nathan Jones pulled no punches with his assessment of his team’s performance.

He said: “We were outfought, outrun and outdone at all the things we are normally good at.

“On reflection, I may have picked the wrong team, but there was no excuse for the way we started the game, which set the tone for what followed.

“They had more energy than us and were quicker to the ball. That doesn’t often happen to us and it is a concern.

“We tried to play offside for the opening goal, which we don’t do. We are struggling to score goals at the moment, but you have to set a platform by defending properly.

“I made changes at half-time, but to be honest we could only be better in the second period after that first-half performance.

“It was only after the sending off that we got any sort of grip. It was a bad tackle, but I was disappointed with Luke Freeman’s reaction.”