RICHARD Hill took some stick from fans for not defending Eastleigh crowd favourite Michael Green after his sending-off against Gateshead last weekend.

But the Spitfires boss insisted: “It’s not a case of not defending Greener.

“I thought at the time it was a red card. As I saw it, he launched in with one foot, studs up and, if that had been against us, I’d have wanted the same punishment for their player.

“Then, when I saw it again on DVD, I thought it was worse than it had looked on the day, so there’s no point appealing.

“Let’s be clear. I will never, ever have a go at any of my players for getting sent off if they’re making an honest attempt to get the ball or, as in Greener’s case, trying to rectify a mistake.

“I was the worst at getting sent off when I was a player, sometimes making dishonest attempts to get the ball.

“But what people don’t realise is that about a minute before Greener’s sending-off, I’d called him over and said we’re knackered, so when you get the ball just hook it over their defence to Craig McAllister and Ben Wright, because they’re the two freshest players we’ve got.

“But then Greener gets the ball, turns inside, loses it and has to lunge in. That’s what made me angry. It wasn’t that he got sent off, it was basic tactics. He didn’t do what I’d asked him to do to help us see out the game.

“We were knackered and my tactics had to be spot on for the rest of the game to make sure we didn’t lose. If we had, who’d have got the blame? Me.”

Within 48 hours of Green’s dismissal, new signing Matt Fry was welcomed into the ranks.

“We could have muddled through for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t want to take the risk by bringing Dan Spence over from right-back or potentially putting Jamie Collins there,” Hill explained. “It’s better to have an orthodox left-back.”