Torquay United have ruled out an appeal against Brian Saah's red card at the weekend, even though the defender has insisted that the whole 'elbow' incident was accidental.
Saah was sent off in the 35th minute of last Saturday's 1-0 npower League Two defeat at Bradford City, where the Gulls held out with ten men until five minutes from full-time before ex-Torquay striker Alan Connell hit the winner.
Referee Darren Bond dismissed Saah, who was trying to take a free-kick in his favour, for elbowing James Meredith in the face as the City defender appeared to be trying to delay the restart.
"One, he [Meredith] was behind me, and I didn't know he was standing that close to me. And, two, I didn't mean to do anything because why would I – the free-kick was in our favour, and all I wanted to do was take it," said Saah.
"I have caught him, but I didn't mean to.
"There was no need for him to be there. If he had just got back to his position at left-back, where he should have been, the whole thing would never have happened. The referee either didn't see it that way, or he didn't see it at all. It was only after he spoke to his linesman that he sent me off.
"It was an accident. It was never meant to happen. I feel like I'm getting punished for doing something I never even intended to do, which is hard to take.
"As soon as I saw the replay, even though I still think it looked worse than it was, I knew there was no point appealing."
Saah, who was captain in the absence of suspended midfielder Lee Mansell, will now drop out as Mansell returns from his own three-match ban. He will miss key games at home to Northampton Town and Exeter City, and the Boxing Day trip to Plymouth Argyle.
The wisdom of Ling's decision to sign young Reading centre-back Angus MacDonald on loan recently is being underlined.
Apart from Saah's suspension, central defender Aaron Downes is only one booking away from a one-match ban heading into the Christmas programme. First-year professional Kirtys McKenzie, 19, is United's other 'cover' in the middle of defence.