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ADAM Lallana branded referee Tony Bates’ decision not to send off Middlesbrough defender Seb Hines as “crazy”.

With the scores level at 1-1 early in the second half, the midfielder was racing through on goal when he was tripped from behind by the Boro centre half just outside the area.

Bates gave the free-kick, but to Saints’ shock did not produce a card of any kind.

Although a covering defender was arguably coming across to prevent a red, the foul looked to warrant a yellow at the very least.

That would have meant a dismissal for Hines, who had been booked minutes earlier, and would likely have changed the entire complexion of the game, which Boro went on to win 2-1.

After the match, Lallana was at a loss to explain the decision not to dismiss Hines.

“I just remember taking a touch and looking up,” he said. “I was going to shoot, but I thought I was quite far out, so I took another touch further away from the defender, and just getting brought down.

“I remember straight away thinking ‘is it a pen, is it a free-kick?’ because I didn’t know where he was.

“Straight away in my head I’m thinking ‘He’s off’ because I remember a second before looking up and the keeper was just there.

“So getting up and thinking ‘He’s going to pull a red out here’ to not give a card at all is crazy really. I don’t know what much else to say.

“I didn’t even know who brought me down. But if it was Hines he’d already been booked.

“I haven’t even seen it again, but I’m straight away thinking ‘that’s a straight red, I’m through on goal.’”