The biggest story for the neutral audience coming away from Crystal Palace’s 2–1 defeat at home to Brighton last weekend was Anthony Knockaert’s screamer to win it but questions are being raised over whether or not the midfielder should have been dismissed in the opening minute of the contest.
The former Leicester man was clearly pumped up for the visit to SE25 and has revelled in the adulation that’s come his way from the Seagulls faithful ever since but having seen his lunge on Luka Milivojevic in the opening minute of the match, I don’t think anyone is in doubt over the fact that he should have received his marching orders from referee Craig Pawson.
another red card completely bottled by the ref. pic.twitter.com/DDRt5bKHka
— ً (@cpfcjay) March 9, 2019
The tackle itself sees Knockaert fly into a challenge on the Serbian, extending his foot and by definition his studs into the Palace captain’s groin with the ball nowhere in sight. He received a yellow card for the tackle but it’s difficult not to feel as though Pawson has based his decision over its timing (inside the first minute) and not the physical severity on show.
As is often the way in football, inaction has led to the Frenchman having the last laugh over the hosts with a beautifully struck winner cannoning off the far post and into the net with the clock ticking away in the second half. Football often kicks you whilst your down and even those calling for a retrospective ban (which can’t happen given the fact that Pawson showed a yellow card) are ignoring the fact that it wouldn’t benefit Palace directly in the manner that playing an almost entire game against 10 men would have done
Had Craig Pawson used VAR for the tackle, I’m 99% sure Knockaert would have been off the field before breaking a sweat but these are the injustices we’re forced to accept as football fans.