Chris Martin loses FA appeal to overturn Norwich City red card
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Martin will serve a three-match ban for Fulham after his FA appeal was turned down, following his red card in the Cottagers' Good Friday 3-1 Championship win at old club Norwich City.
Martin was dismissed for a flailing arm that appeared to catch Mitchell Dijks around the Dutchman's throat in the first half at Carrow Road.
Cottagers' head coach Slaviša Jokanovic insisted there were genuine grounds to launch an appeal but the FA released a brief statement on Sunday evening confirming Martin will now serve a three-game ban, with immediate effect, that rules him out of the majority of Fulham's bid to gatecrash the play-offs.
'Chris Martin did touch the opposite player with his hand, but no moment of danger existed to hit or hurt him,' said the Serbian, straight after the game on Friday. 'All the time they were pushing each other and unfortunately for us the referee interpreted the situation as aggression and sent him off. We must appeal, he is an important player for us and I am sure, because I was in a better position that the referee in this situation. For important days like this, it was a complicated decision. But it's part of football and that's it, I think they are going to understand our application.'
Fulham survived Martin's early exit and increased their lead in the second half through Tom Cairney's penalty and Floyd Ayite's composed 89th minute strike to seal a win that kept up the pressure on chief play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
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The sixth-placed Owls remain two points clear ahead of the final four league games.
'In this crucial, important moment we are in right now, this situation, we believe in ourselves, we play with confidence and we are fighting for top six,' he said. 'We will continue to fight and battle. Now our focus is on Aston Villa. Everything is in our hands. We have to keep fighting until the last game. I don't have time right now to be thinking of the team in front of us. I cannot control that. All I know is that after 42 games we are in a position now where we cannot give up. We showed here that we are prepared to fight to get into the top six.
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'We played 45 or 50 minutes with one player less than them. It's a complicated place, they have only lost three home games all season. We know we have to be organised and support each other, but we expected we were going to find some chances in the offensive transition,' he said. 'We caught them a few times, we scored two goals it's important for us and it's a great performance.'