Neal Maupay's red card at Wolves was classic Sunday League...but I still hope he stays
Ian Hart: In many ways Sunday lunchtime’s 2-1 defeat against Wolves at Molineux encapsulated the Albion’s entire campaign.
An impressive first half showing with skipper Lewis Dunk giving the visitors a deserved lead from a corner but featuring missed opportunities meant Albion went in at the break leading but nowhere near home and hosed.
The game turned on 53 minutes when Dunk pulled back Fabio Silva and received a straight red from referee John Moss. It was the ultimate pivotal moment: if Dunk doesn’t pull him back, and he goes through and doesn’t score, it’s still advantage Albion. Even if he does it’s 1-1 but still 11 vs 11.
A goal up but down to ten men and minus their talismanic skipper, Albion were always going to up against it. We will never know, if Dunk hadn’t fouled Silva, whether Albion would have gone on to take all three points and confirm top flight football at the Amex for a record fifth year.
To add insult to injury Wolves’ injury time winner was followed by Albion’s Neil Maupay receiving the second red card of the day for arguing with Moss after the final whistle.
Albion’s safety, however, was confirmed 24 hours later after Fulham’s home defeat against Burnley.
Maupay’s subsequent suspension throws up the question: Has the much maligned French striker played his last game for the Albion?
I hope not, for despite widespread criticism of him from large sections of the Albion support, I’m still a huge Maupay fan.
At times he’s been unlucky and one wag commented if he was in a marching band he’d be the one with a grand piano.
I think he’s suffered from empty stadiums as I firmly believe he’s a player that feeds off the atmosphere generated by the crowd.
That said, Graham Potter has already set out his stall when it comes to breaches of discipline – and Maupay’s red card was classic Sunday League behaviour.
There’s no place for it at the highest level, and only time will tell whether or not it leaves Maupay with a permanent black mark at the Amex?
Lay off Billy Joe
And finally, British Boxing’s very own Marmite man Billy Joe Saunders, has received sustained and frankly undeserved criticism right across the social media platform in the wake of his 9th Round TKO defeat against Canelo Alvarez in Texas on Saturday night.
I wonder if his numerous critics would rather have had his corner sent him out for the 9th round with a fractured eye socket and temporarily blind in one eye against the best pound for pound fighter on the planet?
This week's Queen Speech has outlined a law to outlaw internet abuse, looking at some the toxic vitriol aimed at Saunders, it can’t come soon enough.