Preston North End boss Simon Grayson felt Jermaine Beckford’s red card cost his side a way back into the game as they went down 4-1 against Leeds on Boxing Day.
The striker was remarkably dismissed just five minutes after returning from a three-match ban for clashing with team mate Eoin Doyle at Sheffield Wednesday at the start of the December.
Coming off the bench on 66 minutes with PNE 3-1 down, Beckford was caught in the back by Kyle Bartley as he jumped for a header, kicking out on the floor and catching the Leeds defender in the face.
After consultation with fourth official Ben Toner, referee Jeremy Simpson sent off the North End striker who is now set to serve a four-game ban.
“Jermaine’s got to react better than he has done,” said Grayson.
“We don’t need to be going down to 10 men too often in this division because it didn’t help our cause.
“It took the wind out of our sails because we were on top at the time and looking to get back into the game.”
AS IT HAPPENED: PNE 1-4 Leeds
As for the game itself, four goals in 14 first-half minutes handed Leeds a 3-1 lead, Marnick Vermijl on target for PNE.
A late Pablo Hernandez strike made sure of an eighth win in 10 games for Garry Monk’s side.
“I don’t think the scoreline reflected how well we played at times,” Grayson said.
“What we did was we made stupid mistakes.
“We didn’t stop the opposition from playing which we’ve done very well this season.
“If you give players time and space to play they can punish you.
“We told the players they could get back into things in the second half if they started brightly and they did.
“We certainly had it all going in our direction until the sending off which is a key moment.”