Exclusive Paul Gallagher PNE column

Jordan Pickford gets his marching orders at Elland Road

Jordan Pickford gets his marching orders at Elland Road

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A big talking point from this week was Jordan Pickford’s red card at Leeds – rescinded on appeal – for supposed deliberate handball.

I was running back towards that end of the pitch and facing Jordan when he came out of his box to clear the ball away from the Leeds striker.

You could tell from how far the ball went when it came off Jordan that it had not come off his arm.

When the referee pulled the game up for the free-kick, we were telling him that Tom Clarke and Paul Huntington had got back to cover and Jordan was not the last man.

The ref had the yellow card out and we walked away from the incident, disappointed to have conceded a free-kick but thinking it would not be a red card.

But the next thing we knew, he had got the red card out and sent Jordan off.

We asked why he had changed his mind and the ref said because of what the linesman had said.

He said that they worked together as a team and that the linesman had seen it as denying a goalscoring opportunity.

My argument to the referee was that he was looking at the incident front-on and had a better view than the linesman, who was seeing it from the side at a different angle.

All the linesman would have been able to see was Jordan’s arms spread and not where the contact was.

I was telling the referee that the linesman had to be 100% sure it was a sending off and I don’t think he could have been.

Officials do have a hard job and a split second to make a decision, so it is surely time they were given help by technology.

They have goalline technology in the Premier League, which has worked well without there needing to be halt in play.

So perhaps technology could be used to help with major decisions – not every kick and push on the pitch but an incident such as the one Jordan was involved in, for example.

I watched the Birmingham versus Cardiff game on television last week and a penalty was given after the ball hit one of the Cardiff lads full in the face.

It was adjudged to be handball yet it was a great, brave block by the kid.

If technology was in use, I am sure it would have taken the fourth official 10 seconds to look at a slow-motion replay and communicate to the referee exactly what had happened.

How costly could that decision be to Cardiff at the end of the season?

They have challenges in tennis and there is the use of video in both codes of rugby, so why not football?

At Leeds, in the time it took the referee to award the free-kick, talk to his linesman and then send off Jordan, he could have been in contact with the fourth official if the use of video technology was allowed.

It was frustrating what happened because we were well in the game when the red card came.

Even when it was 11 versus 10, I thought we were the better side and capable of getting something.

However, it was always going to be difficult being a man down.

The Leeds winner was a freak own goal from Alan Browne and what was missed was a shove in the back on young Browney just before he headed the ball into the net.

Jordan’s red card meant a debut for Matt Hudson and what a place to make your first-team debut – Elland Road.

I thought he did really well, the occasion didn’t bother him and every credit to the lads in front of him, they protected him very well.

Matt had played for our youth team on Friday afternoon and probably expected a quiet Sunday afternoon sat on the bench, as is normally the case for the back-up keeper. Elland Road can be an intimidating ground to play at but Matt stuck 
his chest out and did really 
well.

He was positive, came off his line quickly when required, while his kicking was very good.

It might be a little while before he is needed again but Matt won’t forget Sunday afternoon in a hurry.

Now it is time to put the Leeds game behind us and look forward to the matches over Christmas.

I enjoy playing football and I enjoy Christmas, so games at this time of the year are exciting for me.

It is a time to pick up some points in a short period of time and hopefully we can bounce back from the Leeds defeat.

We go to Huddersfield on Boxing Day and it was a shame to see Chris Powell sacked as their manager last month because I knew Chris well from my Leicester days and he’s a terrific bloke.

Huddersfield have had a few defeats lately but we won’t be underestimating them in any way.

We will be concentrating on ourselves, working out a way to try and get the three points.

As a club, we are adapting to the Championship.

It was a bit of a slow first few weeks of the season but we are on a run of only two defeats in 12 matches.

We had the run of six successive clean sheets in that time, so that showed what we are capable of.

In this division we are coming up against some big clubs spending a lot of money in a bid to get into the Premier League.

But we are holding our own and we go into every game thinking that we can win it.