Adam Webster learns from red-card woe
Adam Webster admits he is in no rush to experience the misery of an empty dressing room again.
The Pompey centre-back was forced to take the lonely walk and sit listening to Pompey’s defeat at Leyton Orient on Boxing Day after his first-half red card.
But there was no radio commentary.
Instead, Webster had to judge how the game was panning out in his absence by the noise of the crowd from inside the stadium.
Webster was shown a straight red card for a foul on Jobi McAnuff in a game where Pompey were in total command up to that point.
It ended in a 3-2 defeat and the Blues defender is certain his side would have claimed the win if he had stayed on the pitch.
Webster said: ‘It’s the worst feeling having to go down the tunnel and sit in the dressing room on your own.
‘When you get sent off, you’re not allowed to go and watch or sit on the bench.
‘So you have to work out what is happening in the game on what you can hear.
‘It’s horrible. You sit there doing nothing – just staring into empty space.
‘I didn’t even get my phone out. I was just there with my head in my hands.
‘It’s not nice to go through it but I suppose it makes you stronger.
‘I’ve just got to make sure I don’t go through it again for a while.
‘I think I have learned from it.’
Webster certainly wasn’t totally to blame for the incident that led to his dismissal as Danny Hollands attempted to find goalkeeper Brian Murphy with a backpass.
With the defender in the way, he then tried to make amends, only to haul down the Leyton Orient man.
Webster said: ‘Danny Hollands was trying to get it back to Murphs but hit it straight at me.
‘I thought it would be a tough one for the keeper so I tried to deal with it. Obviously, I didn’t deal with it.
‘As I got sent off, we had a bit of a shout at each other but we sorted it out quickly. My initial clearance wasn’t great to be fair. I should have done better with that.
‘But it was so frustrating because we were dominating the game until that point.
‘If I was still on the pitch, we would have won that game – I have no doubt about that.
‘We appealed to the FA and we felt we had a good case.
‘On the replay, you can see that I got shoved first so I am falling down and then McAnuff falls down as well.
‘But the referee saw it from the other side.
‘I got the letter from the FA saying he got to the ball before me, which he didn’t really.
‘I didn’t think he had control of the ball but there’s not much you can do about it.
‘My first red card against Cambridge last season was a bit harsh as well.
‘It was two yellow cards and the first one wasn’t actually me that made the foul – it was James Dunne.
‘For the second one, I smashed him and that was really stupid.
‘It’s two red cards in my career and I’m only 21 so hopefully there aren’t too many more.’
While it’s easy in hindsight, Webster knows he should have simply let McAnuff have a shot at goal – even if it meant Pompey’s early lead was wiped out.
He said: ‘The gaffer always says “if they are through on goal, don’t bring them down”.
‘I don’t need to be told that. I know that anyway – you need 11 men on the pitch. Looking back, it wouldn’t have been the worst thing for him to shoot, even if we had gone back to 1-1.
‘But you make a quick decision to try to stop a goal.’
While Cook wasn’t best pleased at the time, he has sung the praises of the young defender on several occasions this season and clearly rates him highly.
Webster said: ‘Hopefully I have shown him I’m a good player and can continue to do that with my form.
‘He wasn’t quite so pleased with me at Leyton Orient but we won’t go there!’