Kila’s off the hook!

Neil Kilkenny
Neil Kilkenny
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Dave Seddon’s PNE viewpoint

Neil Kilkenny is known as ‘Kila’ in the Preston dressing room, but he will be having to change his nickname to ‘Teflon’ at this rate.

The midfielder has twice been shown red cards in his two-and-a-half months at Deepdale.

However, he’s found himself in the clear on both occasions, hence the Teflon tag – nothing sticks.

Kilkenny’s first red in the away game at Port Vale was a clear case of mistaken identity, with team-mate Joe Garner later ruled the culprit and copping the three-match suspension.

Circumstances were somewhat different on Tuesday night as the Aussie took an early dip in the bath after being sent-off for a tangle with Bradford City winger Kyle Bennett.

There was no mistake that it was Kilkenny who tangled with Bennett after a routine midfield challenge.

But what was nothing more than a case of handbags was seen in a much more serious light by referee Stuart Attwell.

Yes, both players raised their arms but in no more than a light pushing motion.

This was no heavyweight fight, no street brawl, just a bit of playground shoving.

So like many folk in Valley Parade, I was surprised when the red card came out of Mr Attwell’s pocket.

That incident aside, I thought the referee had a pretty decent game.

But for me, the double dismissal highlighted that on occasions referees don’t take a common sense approach, or probably more likely, aren’t being allowed to use a touch of common sense.

Are they thinking too much about the assessor sat in the stand and how their performance will be marked?

After the coming together of Kilkenny and Bennett, what Mr Attwell needed was a moment or two of thinking time.

All too quickly though, the hand went to the pocket and Bennett was shown red, with the same fate befalling Kilkenny a few seconds later.

From that moment on, the game lost not only two players, but some sparkle too.

North End dropped Paul Gallagher into a deeper role from his starting position up front while the Bantams opted to go one shy in midfield.

And while still a rather feisty clash, I think supporters were left a bit short-changed.

Had Mr Attwell given himself just a second or two longer to think as oppose to the rapid draw of the red card, then perhaps the 13,686 crowd would have gone on to get their money’s worth.

The FA thankfully gave both clubs a sympathetic ear when they appealed on Thursday.

Kilkenny’s appeal against the red card was successful, while Bradford got Bennett’s three-match ban reduced to just one.

I am not sure on what grounds the Yorkshire club appealed, whether just against the severity of the suspension or against the dismissal itself.

North End’s appeal was on the grounds of no contact being made on the neck/head of Bennett by Kilkenny, one which they backed up with video evidence.

The upshot is that Kilkenny will be available for today’s clash with Notts County instead of being sat in the stand serving the first of a three-game ban.

Staying on the subject of the Bradford game, it could be that my ugly mug appears at some point on Soccer AM.

Their crew filmed ‘a day in the life of feature’ at Valley Parade, focusing on a Bradford director. During the game they sat him in the press box with a camera following his every move.

Sat behind him was a rather grumpy me – grumpy that the stadium’s wi-fi was on a go-slow which made tweeting and match report-filing a slow, painful process.

So if the camera did catch my miserable face and picked up the odd expletive, sorry!