JOHN Sussex admits Basildon United are being affected by a barrage of red cards.

Joe Turpin’s dismissal in the 3-0 defeat to AFC Sudbury means the Bees have now picked up five red cards in their last seven Isthmian North outings.

And - having already been without Adam Vyse, Ayo Odukoya and Ernest Okoh due to being given their marching orders in recent weeks - Sussex concedes Basildon cannot afford to keep having key players sidelined through suspension.

“The suspensions are killing me but there’s nothing I can say or do,” said the Bees’ boss, who took charge in March.

“If our red cards were for dissent, I could stop that straightaway.

“But Turps’ sending off was for an instinctive handball and it’s up to the player to try and stop that happening.

“Vysey has been sent off twice for reacting to tackles and Ernest for not getting a free-kick when he felt he should have.

“The red cards need to stop because we have a small squad as it is and having people suspended is stopping us getting results.

“Before the game, we had nine players of a 19-man first team squad missing.

“We also have five strikers at the club but they were all missing through suspension or injury, so we had to play with a false nine.

“The suspensions are hurting our progress.”

Turpin was sent for an early bath just three minutes after the interval, with the encounter still goalless.

However, Sudbury capitalised with Callum Harrison converting the resulting spot-kick.

Baris Altintop added his name to the scoresheet after 59 minutes and Reece Harris completed the scoring three minutes later.

And Sussex could have no complaints about the red card.

“They had a shot that was heading towards goal and he instinctively moved his hand towards the ball,” added Sussex.

“It was a pure reaction and he had originally lifted his knee in an attempt to knee it away, but then he ended up handling it.

“I asked him why he did it and he said it was just instinctive.”

And Sussex confirmed Turpin’s red card proved critical.

“We were comfortable before Turps’ sending off and they didn’t look like they were going to score,” admitted Sussex.

“I thought we might end up nicking a 1-0 win in the second half but the red card changed the game.

“After going down to 10 men and them scoring the resulting penalty, it became very difficult.

“We lost our shape and belief for 10 minutes, which they made the most of.”