Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has backed Jeremy Simpson by claiming the official was right to award a penalty in Leeds United’s 1-1 draw with Brentford.
Simpson came in for criticism after penalising Leeds goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell for a challenge on Ollie Watkins in the 62nd minute at Elland Road on Saturday.
Peacock-Farrell slid in on Watkins after a defensive error left the Brentford winger alone inside United’s’ area but replays showed Watkins going to ground before Peacock-Farrell made contact with him.
The incident was one of a number of flashpoints, some of which are being looked into by the Football Association today.
Leeds defender Pontus Jansson could face a fine for post-match comments in which he accused Simpson of “robbery” while Brentford’s Sergi Canos is at risk of a ban after being filmed aiming a headbutt at Gjanni Alioski in the away dug-out.
But speaking on Sky Sports News’ Ref Watch feature, Gallagher - a top flight official for 15 years before his retirement in 2007 - defended the penalty call.
“I’m with the referee,” Gallagher said. “Every referee will give a penalty like that.
“You see the player go in and somebody said to me ‘he’s already going down’ but in that situation, the goalkeeper’s come out legs first, he’s come flying out and he’s run the risk.”
Gallagher also insisted he sympathised with Simpson’s failure to show Moses Odubajo a second yellow card in the second half, despite later dismissing Luke Arling for a similar foul.
Odubajo, who had been cautioned minutes earlier, hacked down Jack Clarke but escaped without a caution as Simpson played advantage.
“I think the difference is the height of the tackle,” Gallagher said. “Ayling’s was a little bit higher.
“Also it’s interesting that because Leeds win the ball (after Odubajo’s tackle) the referee plays on. Once he’s played on he doesn’t come back.
“If you were going to red card a player you would normally stop the game. By playing on he’s said he’s not going to send off.”