Henri Lansbury

Aston Villa bemused by late refereeing decision

1 Comment

Aston Villa’s players, staff and fans all left Selhurst Park scratching their heads on Saturday.

Trailing 1-0 and down to 10 men, Villa thought they had equalized in the 96th minute through Henri Lansbury‘s strike.

But referee Kevin Friend has blown his whistle milliseconds before, as he gave a free kick to Crystal Palace for simulation against Jack Grealish.

On second viewing it appeared that Grealish was fouled both inside and outside the penalty box and the referee should have either played advantage or awarded a penalty kick. VAR wasn’t used in this situation, and Villa boss Dean Smith told the BBC after the game that he was confused as to why they goal wasn’t allowed to stand.

“We kept going until the end and in my opinion got a good goal. I’m not sure any of us know why the referee has given the decision,” Smith said. “We’ve all looked at it back and nobody can see why he hasn’t given the goal and given the free kick but we have to take it on the chin.”

Villa’s players were absolutely livid with Friend and Grealish was booked for simulation (first it was reported he’d been booked for dissent) as he remonstrated with the referee.

It was a bad decision by Friend, but his decision could not be reviewed by VAR as it doesn’t come under the four situations it can be used for: penalty kicks, a red card, a goal or mistaken identity.

You could argue that it could have gone to VAR over a penalty kick being awarded to Villa, as that was a pretty clear and obvious mistake.

There are still teething issues with VAR and Villa were on the wrong side of it on Saturday.

Palace beat 10-man Villa amid late drama

2 Comments

Crystal Palace beat 10-man Aston Villa 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday, as the game finished in dramatic circumstances.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Villa had Trezeguet sent off and Jordan Ayew sealed the win with a second half strike, but Villa thought they had equalized in the 96th minute but referee Kevin Friend had whistled seconds earlier for simulation by Jack Grealish, when the decision looked questionable. And that is putting it kindly.

Palace now have seven points on the board, while Villa have three.


3 things we learned

1. Referees have to let plays develop: Kevin Friend reacted too quickly to whistle Jack Grealish for simulation in the box, and VAR would have surely seen it as a clear and obvious error as Gary Cahill took down the Villa skipper in the box. Lansbury scoring has nothing to do with this. Friend should have let the play develop, then given a foul or a penalty kick had Lansbury not scored. Villa should feel very hard done by.

2. Palace still lack a proper finisher: Ayew and Zaha worked their socks off and Palace had five decent goalscoring chances in this game. They only took one and that is the real issue here, as they struggled to break down a dogged 10-man Villa. Roy Hodgson‘s side are solid as a rock, but they just lack a natural finisher.

3. Villa hamstrung by Trezeguet’s madness: Getting booked either side of half time, Trezeguet put his team up against it at Selhurst. The second challenge on Zaha was just plain silly and even though Villa didn’t play well at all, the Egyptian winger was instrumental in them not grabbing a point.

Man of the Match: Jordan Ayew – He scored the winner and worked so hard for the team. He is not a natural finisher at all, but he delivered a big three points for Palace who have now won back-to-back games.


Villa started off on the front foot and Douglas Luiz whipped a free kick over the bar.

Palace should have taken the lead after Jeffrey Schlupp found James McArthur in the box but he somehow sent his shot over form close range.

The Eagles went close again in the first half as Jordan Ayew slid in at the back post but couldn’t get on the end of a ball fizzed across the six yard box. Wilfried Zaha almost got on the end of another cross as Villa dropped deeper and deeper.

Luka Milivojevic‘s low free kick was then deflected and saved by Tom Heaton as Palace had the better chances in the first half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In the second half both teams sat back and looked to launch counter attacks, but Villa were reduced to 10 men as Trezeguet received his second yellow card for bringing down Zaha.

Palace were buoyed by their man advantage, and Milivojevic curled a shot from distance which Heaton pushed away superbly.

Ayew curled a shot over as Villa restricted Palace to efforts from distance, but the Ghanian forward scored the winner moments later.

Schlupp played in Ayew down the left and he cut inside, bundled his way through challenges and curled home to make it 1-0.

Villa thought they had snatched an equalizer in the 96th minute as Henri Lansbury slotted home, but referee Kevin Friend disallowed the goal as he had blown the whistle for an earlier foul by Grealish in the penalty box which looked like it should have gone the opposite way and been a penalty kick to Villa.

What a dramatic end to a fierce encounter.