PNE keeper Pickford wins red card appeal

Jordan Pickford is shown the red card by Gavin Ward

Jordan Pickford is shown the red card by Gavin Ward

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Preston North End have successfully appealed goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s red card at Leeds on Sunday.

Pickford was sent-off in the 31st minute of the Elland Road clash after referee Gavin Ward judged he had deliberately handled outside the penalty area and denied a goalscoring opportunity when challenging for a through ball with Leeds striker Chris Wood.

North End appealed to the FA against the sending-off, arguing that the ball had struck Pickford on the chest and that it wasn’t a clear goalscoring chance as defenders had got back to cover.

The case went before an FA disciplinary panel on Tuesday afternoon, with the panel upholding the appeal and withdrawing the red card.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson said: “We have a lot of footage where we agreed among ourselves that the ball hit Jordan’s chest.

“The referee’s report said he sent him off for deliberate handball and also denying a goalscoring opportunity.

“We went with the case that it wasn’t deliberate handball - it hit him on the chest - but also the direction where Wood was heading the ball was to Jordan’s left where Paul Huntington was coming around on the cover and Wood wouldn’t have got to it.”

When Pickford was sent-off, North End had to turn to 17-year-old rookie keeper Matt Hudson who was on the bench in place of Chris Kirkland who was ill.

The panel’s decision means that Pickford is free to play in PNE’s Boxing Day clash with Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium.