Referee who dismissed two in bloody Yorkshire derby takes charge of Leeds United’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace
Referee Kevin Friend will officiate his 261st Premier League at Elland Road on Tuesday.
The Leicestershire official has taken charge of 20 Leeds United games in his career, including the Whites’ 2-1 home loss to West Ham earlier this season.
In one of Friend’s more memorable games as the man in the middle for the Whites, 10-man Leeds lost 2-1 to 10-man Rotherham at the New York Stadium in April 2016, when the hosts pinched a win in injury time as Greg Halford put a penalty past improvised shot-stopper Giuseppe Bellusci.
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The Millers were 1-0 up when Rotherham striker Matt Derbyshire caught Whites full-back Gaetano Berardi in the face with his elbow 61 minutes into the match. Friend dismissed Derbyshire for the challenge as blood streamed down Berardi’s face, which later required stitches.
Against ten men, Leeds were able to equalise through a Luke Murphy strike before Whites goalkeeper Marco Silvestri brought down the advancing Luke Frecklington in the 89th minute.
Friend produced another red card and pointed to the spot, forcing Silvestri to hand the gloves to Bellusci as he left the field. Defender by trade, Bellusci could not stop Halford’s spot-kick and the eventful derby ended in victory for the hosts.
After the game, Rotherham manager and ex-Whites boss Neil Warnock was adamant that Derbyshire’s dismissal was unjust.
“I thought our sending-off was harsh,” Warnock said. “I’ve looked at it. We will appeal that. Derbs isn’t like that, he hasn’t gone to elbow him.”
Meanwhile, Leeds’ head coach Steve Evans agreed that the striker did not intend to harm, but felt the decision was fair.
“They’ve got no chance with an appeal,” Evans said. “I’ve watched it again and he clearly leads with his arm. It’s in an unnatural position so I don’t think they can have any complaints. Matt is not the type to do that on purpose but he caught Berra and everyone saw the state he was in.”
The Millers’ appeal was granted and Derbyshire’s red card was overturned.
Friend, who supports Leicester City, has dished out one red card and 14 yellows across the four Premier League games he’s taken charge of so far this season.
On Tuesday at Elland Road, Friend will be assisted by Adrian Holmes and Simon Beck, with Robert Jones acting as the fourth official. Simon Hooper will take charge of VAR, with Timothy Wood assisting.
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