Derby County defender Richard Keogh at a loss to explain penalty decision in Leeds United play-off defeat

Derby County defender Richard Keogh believed a draw would have been a "fair result" in his sides 1-0 play-off semi-final first leg defeat to Leeds United at Pride Park.

Sunday, 12th May 2019, 2:25 pm
Leeds United winger Jack Harrison takes on Derby County's defender Richard Keogh at Pride Park.

The Rams skipper also admitted that he was at a loss to explain the reversal of the decision to award the Rams a penalty in the 78th minute of the game.

Kemar Roofe struck after 55 minutes to earn United a slender advantage heading into the return leg on Wednesday evening at Elland Road with a spot at Wembley up for grabs.

Leeds, though, were handed a reprieve after referee Craig Pawson awarded Frank Lampard's men a penalty 12 minutes from time.

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Whites winger Jack Harrison tangled with County defender Jayden Bogle inside the area as the United winger attempted to clear the ball.

Pawson, though, consulted linesman Eddie Smart before reversing his decision instead deeming that the Derby man was the guilty party, with replays showing minimal contact between the pair.

Keogh, who was speaking afterwards, believed the match officials reached the wrong decision: "I thought it was a penalty - but the ref changed his mind," he told Derbyshire Live.

"It's disappointing. I thought it was a great bit of play, a great ball, Boges looked like he was the wrong side of him and he (Harrison) kicked his leg.

"We get told that you shouldn't surround the referee. They had every player round the referee, which is why I stepped in.

"It's the referee's call and he changed his mind.

"When I asked him, he just said he had changed his mind. I don't know exactly why. You'd have to ask them (the match officials)."

Derby were also left aggrieved by the decision to hand Leeds midfielder Mateusz Klich a yellow card after the Pole appeared to headbutt the midriff of Fikayo Tomori in the closing stages.

"The referee made a decision," Keogh added. "I'm sure everyone saw it, so you can make your own mind up."

Asked his thoughts on the game, he said: "I thought it was a pretty even game, to be honest.

"We started well in the game and then they came into it. I wouldn't say they controlled it that much. The way they play, they are going to have some of the ball. We had spells on the ball as well.

"Obviously, we would have liked to win the ball back a bit higher but sometimes, you have to accept the other team are going to have the ball.

"Defensively, I thought we were pretty good. We didn't give too much away. We needed to be a bit braver on the ball and, in the second half, I thought we were.

"I thought the first half was theirs a little bit more and I thought the second half was ours.

"After they got their goal, I felt we were the team in the ascendancy. The midfielders are bright and wanted the ball. We put them on the back foot, especially in the last 20 minutes.

"We just couldn't quite find that final pass to get the equaliser. I thought a draw would have been a fair result."