SUNDERLAND manager Lee Johnson has defended his actions that led to his dismissal in last night’s 3-1 defeat to Lincoln City.

Johnson was given his marching orders by referee Jeremy Simpson for his role in a touchline melee in the closing stages of last night’s loss at the Stadium of Light.

The bust-up erupted when defender Callum Doyle flew into a late tackle right in front of Johnson which caused tempers to flare. Furious Lincoln players confronted Doyle only for the Sunderland head coach to attempt to physically intervene. It’s not been confirmed whether he will receive a touchline ban for his actions.

Johnson said: “I thought it was a high tackle from Callum (Doyle). It wasn’t the best tackle in the world but obviously when there is an 18-year-old lad, I know he’s a big lad, getting picked on right in front of me, I felt it was right to try and prevent and defend.

“The craziness is I get sent off and obviously nobody else does. That’s frustrating but I’ve got to be accountable. I will be and I’ll take any punishment on the chin.”

The Black Cats missed out on the chance to go top of League One thanks to Chris Maguires’s hat-trick with the former player coming back to haunt his old side last night.

They return to action this weekend when they make the trip to Accrington Stanley.