Jermaine Beckford was sent-off just three minutes into his return from suspension in Preston North End’s Boxing Day defeat to Leeds United.
The striker had just completed a three-match ban for fighting with team-mate Eoin Doyle in the loss at Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the month.
He came on as a 66th minute substitute as North End looked for a way back into the contest but saw red in the 69th minute for kicking-out at Kyle Bartley after a challenge on the half-way line.
North End were trailing 3-1 at the time, those goals squashed into a 14-minute spell in the first half, and Beckford’s dismissal killed off any momentum they had and blocked a potential comeback.
A man down, the home side conceded a late fourth to a Leeds side who have now won eight of their last 10 games.
There was little sympathy for Beckford as he made his way off the pitch, with him now facing a four-game suspension – three for this red card and an extra game as it was his second sending-off of the season.
Leeds had taken a 17th minute lead, Kemar Roofe nodding in at the far post after Pontis Jansson had headed a Stuart Dallas free-kick across goal.
Hado Sacko ran clear to stretch the advantage five minutes later, before Marnick Vermijl fired PNE back into the contest with a first-time shot in the 27th minute.
But the visitors restored their two-goal cushion in the 31st minute, Souleymane Doukara cutting inside and beating Chris Maxwell with a low shot at the near post.
In the second half, Alan Browne saw a close-range shot saved by Leeds keeper Robert Green.
That chance came shortly before Beckford and Jordan Hugill were introduced in a double change, Simon Grayson sensing there was a way back in.
The red card came after Beckford went up with Bartley and Luke Ayling for a high ball over by the dug-outs.
Beckford appeared to get a knee in the back from Bartley as they challenged in the air and when they came down, the PNE man kicked out and caught Bartley in the face.
It happened right in front of fourth official Ben Toner and after a brief consulation, referee Jeremy Simpson produced the red card.
There was confusion for a few moments with a number of players crowding round before Beckford left the field and headed for the tunnel.
With 10 men, Preston could only muster a couple of half chances and it was Leeds who had the final say, substitute Pablo Hernandez running through to tuck home their fourth goal in the 87th minute.
PNE: Maxwell, Baptiste, Clarke, Huntington, Cunningham, Pearson, Vermijl, Browne, Johnson (Doyle 81), Robinson (Beckford 66), Makienok (Hugill 66). Subs (not used): Wright, Spurr, Pringle, Lindegaard.
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Phillips, Bridcutt, Sacko (Hernadez 54), Roofe (Antonsson 85), Dallas, Doukara (Wood 81). Subs (not used): Cooper, Vieira, Denton, Silvestri.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Carnforth)
Attendance: 21,255 (5,551 away)