"It's a poor, poor decision": Tony Pulis fumes at Daniel Ayala's red card in Middlesbrough's defeat to Preston

Daniel Ayala reacts to being sent off for Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night
Daniel Ayala reacts to being sent off for Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis said referee Keith Stroud “gambled” when sending off Daniel Ayala in his side’s defeat to Preston North End.

The defender was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Brandon Barker just after the hour mark.

Boro led 1-0 at the time through Ashley Fletcher’s first-half goal but Ayala’s dismissal sparked a remarkable turnaround.

Paul Gallagher scored the resulting free-kick with Jayden Stockley completing the Lilywhites’ comeback nine minutes from time.

“I've watched it now from four different angles,” Pulis said.

“The referee is a long, long way from the challenge.

“Not only that, he's got players in between him and it looks from our view that he can't see the challenge.

“I've just said to him, to make a decision like that you have to be 100 per cent sure.

“You can't be 50 or 60 per cent sure otherwise you're gambling.

“I think he gambles and makes a very poor choice and it affected the game.

“Dani is disappointed because he slides in, he definitely sides in, but he takes the ball with one foot, not two feet.

“People will say it's aggressive but it's a game of challenges, football.

“It's a poor, poor decision.”

Pulis’ side dominated the first half and the Boro boss was frustrated that his side weren’t well clear at the interval.

“Even before the red card, if you create the opportunities we have tonight, you have to be more than 1-0 up,” he said,.

“The first half performance was excellent and warranted us being two or three up.

“The game should have been out of sight.

“I thought we dominated the game and played good stuff in the first half.

“Preston were fortunate to be anywhere near it.”