Shawcross - Ref was spot on
Ryan Shawcross admitted referee Mike Jones had no choice but to send off Ricardo Fuller.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 29/12/08 2:20pm
Ryan Shawcross admitted referee Mike Jones had no choice but to send off Ricardo Fuller for slapping Stoke skipper Andy Griffin.
Fuller was given his marching orders in Sunday's defeat at West Ham following an incredible spat with Griffin, in what was undoubtedly the most bizarre dismissal of the season.
Shawcross was among several bewildered onlookers of the unseemly confrontation and it soon reminded the defender of a similar collision between Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer when they played for Newcastle.
"I've seen the Bowyer and Dyer thing - and I'm sure this one will be talked a lot about in the press," Shawcross told the Sentinel.
"You cannot do that in football. It was unacceptable. If you do that to another player, you will be sent off.
"He's a top lad and his frustration got the better of him."
Boss Tony Pulis instructed his players to be tight-lipped on the incident, but Shawcross was unable to conceal his frustration at losing so late in the game.
"It's so disappointing to lose like that after going down to 10 men and defending so well for so long," added the 21-year-old.
"After the sending off, any team is going to struggle. Vincent (Pericard) up front ran himself into the ground and Richard Cresswell was outstanding.
"It makes it much harder going down to 10 men, they can pass it around a bit more. We thought it would be a struggle because up until they scored it was looking tight."
Stoke felt aggrieved by the decision to let Diego Tristan's winner stand and Shawcross maintains the striker was marginally offside when he deflected the ball into the back of the net.
"He was definitely offside," said Shawcross. "I don't know if the ref thought he touched it, but he was a good yard or so offside. It's bitterly disappointing."
It is now three defeats in a row and six without a win for Stoke, and Shawcross admits the Potters need to freshen things up as they enter the new year entrenched in the bottom three.
"It's the first time we've gone 1-0 up away from home and after that I thought we looked quite tight and kept chances down to a minimum," he said.
"After being out of the relegation zone for quite a while, we are now in there and with some tough games coming up.
"We are all disappointed about the last two results, but we've got to look forward and hopefully bring in a few new faces.
"It's the first time in the Premier League we've had two games in three days and I'm absolutely knackered - and I'm one of the younger ones.
"But we'll have a few days off now and every team bounces back from controversy. It may even help us in the long run because we have to look for the positives.
"We played well, despite the result, and Liverpool at home in our next game will be different to the game at their ground because our place is a fortress."
The FA confirmed on Monday that Fuller will esape further punishment after his clash with Griffin.
The striker will recieve the statutory three-match ban for the red card issued for violent conduct.
Boss Pulis, who is due to meet the player today to discuss the incident, is expected to fine the 29-year-old the maximum two weeks' wages.