Derby County's Tom Lawrence free to face Leeds United after escaping FA punishment

Derby County's Tom Lawrence.
Derby County's Tom Lawrence.
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Derby County’s Tom Lawrence will be available for the Championship play-off semi-final with Leeds United after the Football Association ruled he had no case to answer over an alleged dive against West Bromwich Albion.

The FA has ruled out taking action against Lawrence over a second-half incident which earned Derby a penalty in Sunday’s game at Pride Park.

Lawrence went down under a challenge from Albion defender Kyle Bartley as County fought to seal the last play-off position in the division.

Frank Lampard’s side were 2-1 up at the time and sealed a 3-1 victory through Harry Wilson’s 73rd-minute spot-kick.

Replays showed Bartley making a slight connection with Lawrence’s left foot but West Brom caretaker manager James Shan claimed afterwards that he had seen “no contact” in video footage of the foul.

The FA considered the match report submitted by referee Tim Robinson and referred the tackle to a panel of three former match officials. The panel ruled that Lawrence was not guilty of deceiving the Robinson into awarding a penalty.

The winger would otherwise have been at risk of a two-match ban, ruling him out of both legs of the play-off semi-final between Leeds and Derby.

Leeds’ Patrick Bamford fell foul of that charge last week after he was found to have duped referee Stuart Attwell into sending off Anwar El Ghazi in United’s recent 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Bamford was subsequently suspended for two matches and is out of Saturday’s semi-final first leg at Pride Park.