LONDON, CMC — Jamaica international Gareth McCleary has apologised for his red card which left Reading to defend stoutly in order to come away with a 2-1 victory against Barnsley in the English Championship on Saturday.
Playing away at Oakwell, McCleary scored in the ninth minute to hand the visitors the lead before John Swift doubled the lead in the 27th minute.
However, McCleary turned villain when he given marching orders in the 34th minute after reacting to a tackle on Danny Williams by pushing Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane to the ground.
“I apologise profusely,” McCleary said via online social networking service, Twitter.
“I was defending DW [and] had head loss which played into their hands. The boys done excellent for the remaining 60 mins …”
Reading manager, Jaap Stam, was sympathetic to McCleary’s misdemeanor but said the player needed to better handle such situations.
“He was obviously disappointed with what happened. He reacted to the tackle on Danny,” the former Manchester United defender said.
“Of course he needs to be more clever in that situation. But I think it’s the reaction of their player as well. It was not like he hit him, he pushed him away.”
McCleary had opened the scoring when he tucked home a rebound after his initial penalty shot was saved and then watched as Swift produced a super finish, to put Reading in full control.
However, once he was sent off, it left Reading to defending for an hour and the development changed the entire complexion of the game.
“Of course when Garath got the red card it was a totally different game,” Stam said. “We had to defend and work very hard for each other and we did that.”
Adam Armstrong finally breached the Reading defence nine minutes from time but were unable to find the equaliser to claim a share of the points.
Barnsley are fourth on 15 points with Reading one point behind in eighth.