GARY Rowett was furious with Marcus Holness after the centre-half’s sending off cost Burton Albion a chance of ending their losing streak.
The Brewers defender – probably their most impressive player so far this season – saw red early on at AFC Wimbledon for stupidly pushing Sammy Moore.
Albion went on to lose 3-1 after taking the lead through Adam McGurk and have now lost their last three in League Two.
“We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” said the Burton boss. “Once again we’ve let ourselves down.
“We’ve gone into a little spell where we’re making it very easy for officials to make decisions.
“I can’t condone in any way, shape or form Marcus’ actions again.
“I have to be honest – I’m absolutely furious that once again we’ve given ourselves an absolute mountain to climb with a moment of stupidity.”
Rowett was frustrated that Holness got sent off for a push, whereas Dave Kitson only got a yellow for a similar infraction two weeks ago – but says his players must not give referees a decision to make.
“What’s slightly frustrating – and I’d need to see the incident again – is that Kitson pushed Ian Sharps two weeks ago and I was told a push is not a sending off,” said Rowett.
“But it would be an awful lot easier if the player didn’t push in the first place.”
After going down to 10 men, Albion put in a game performance, but playing 70 minutes a man down usually ends one way, and goals from Michael Smith, Jack Midson and Andy Frampton ensured Wimbledon maintained their 100 per cent home record.
“We had to defend properly and we did that for 15 to 20 minutes,” said Rowett.
“What you can’t do as 10 men is concede a sloppy goal – and we have done.
“We’ve ended up dropping in too deep and inviting the pressure.
“At 1-1, Jordan Pickford makes a mistake for the second one. He’s a young goalkeeper and he’s held his hand up for that – there’s nothing much you can do, it was an honest mistake.
“The third one came from a corner and it doesn’t matter how many men you’re down to, you have to defend better than that.
“We’re not giving ourselves a chance at the moment and that’s the frustrating bit.
“That’s two out of the last three we’ve been down to 10 early on. Statistically you’re likely to lose once you’re a man down.”
Liam Slade made his debut in senior football, coming on for the unfortunate Dominic Knowles - himself enjoying a first start in League Two - after Holness’ dismissal.
Rowett was pleased with the 18-year-old.
“I thought he did well, a bright spark,” he said. “I could easily have put Jack Dyer to right-back and Phil Edwards inside but we had nothing to lose at that stage.
“I thought he did well and showed he could cope with this level of football.
“You’re asking a lot but he coped. He was one of the bright things to come from the game.”
Rory Delap, Ian Sharps, Chris Hussey and Billy Kee were all badly missed and with Holness now out for three games, Rowett is down to just a handful of available defenders.
A move into the loan market is inevitable.
“We’ll have to do something - we can’t expect Liam to start all those games yet,” said the manager.
“I think we need to have a little look and address that.”
Rene Howe, too, will need to improve after several under-par games up front - getting dropped on Saturday in favour of Knowles.
“I felt as though we haven’t had enough of him since his opening games,” said Rowett. “He scored two in his first two and we haven’t seen enough after that.
“We needed a bit more energy up there.
“I don’t think Symesy and Rene have worked particularly well as a partnership yet, so we needed to do something different.”