“It’s stupid. He doesn’t even need to pull Takumi Minamino back there.”
Thankfully for Jeff Hendrick, Newcastle United were able to see out the game and save the Irishman’s blushes for an inexplicable decision that led to a second yellow card on Saturday afternoon.
Having already been booked early in the game, Hendrick was sent off five minutes after half-time for pulling back Southampton’s new loan signing Takumi Minamino.
After a case of near-mistaken identity, referee Craig Pawson was quickly made aware that it was Hendrick who committed the cynical foul and the Republic of Ireland midfielder was dismissed.
Former England international Alex Scott couldn’t understand why Hendrick felt the need to stop Minamino in his tracks, knowing full well that a red card would follow.
“It’s stupid. He doesn’t even need to pull Takumi Minamino back there,” Scott said on BBC Final Score.
“He’s not through on goal, there’s no reason for him to do what he just did. If they go on to lose the game, Jeff Hendrick needs to take responsibility.”
Luckily for Hendrick, Southampton couldn’t find an equaliser and Newcastle’s three first-half goals were enough to ensure all three points remained at St. James’ Park.
Magpies manager Steve Bruce praised his team’s resilience having been forced to play the final 20 minutes with nine men after Fabian Schar had to be taken off and Bruce had no substitutes remaining.
“It’s not often you can handle it with ten men for half-an-hour, let alone have to play 25 minutes with nine men,” Bruce said.
“I think how the game was going to be was summed up when we had a good chance to make it 4-1 just after half-time, and then within two minutes, we’ve lost a player and Ward-Prowse has come up with one of his trademark free-kicks and you’re thinking, ‘Wow, it’s going to be a difficult afternoon’, which it turned into.
“But the resilience of the team, and the effort and commitment, I thought was terrific.”