Preston North End boss Alex Neil has no complaints with the red cards in the win against Fulham

Preston North End manager Alex Neil thought referee Keith Stroud got both red cards correct in the Lilywhites' victory over Fulham at Deepdale last night.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 6:00 am
Preston right-back Joe Rafferty (far left) is shown the red card by referee Keith Stroud

It was a 10 versus 10 battle for more than half the game which PNE won 2-1, Denis Odoi getting a red card for the Cottagers in the 28th minute for catching Patrick Bauer in the face as they challenged for a header.

North End right-back Joe Rafferty then saw red just before the interval for a rash tackle on Fulham substitute Joe Bryan who had joined the action in a reshuffle after Odoi's dismissal.

Neil was also to admit that Ben Pearson was fortunate to stay on the pitch in between Odoi and Rafferty's sendings-off for a foul on Josh Onomah.

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Denis Odoi's challenge on Patrick Bauer which saw the Fulham man sent-off

Pearson was booked but replays showed it merited red.

Asked if there were any complaints about the two red cards, Neil said: "Having watched them back, no I don't think so.

"With their red card the lad was a bit unfortunate because normally when someone goes up to head the ball they put their hands up.

"But Patrick went up with his hands down and not only that, the lads turns and hits him with his shoulder.

Denis Odoi is shown the red card at Deepdale for a foul on Preston centre-half Patrick Bauer

"The fact he turns and catches him clean in the face and the way Pat fell, it was a bad connection. He was really late going for the header.

"I think if it didn't catch Pat as bad as it did, it may not have been a red card but how clean the contact was and you saw Pat's head jerk back, it looked like a red card."

With regards Rafferty's red card, Neil said: "It was a rubbish decision made by Joe, he went in over the ball with a straight leg and it was a sending-off. So no complaints."

Pearson's challenge on Onomah was two-footed and he dodged a bullet by only getting a caution from Mr Stroud.

Neil said: "Having seen it back, yes we had some fortune.

"At the time I actually thought he was was hard done by with the yellow card but I've since watched it again.

"It is something Ben has stamped out of his game this season. I actually had a word with him about it because it was a really poor challenge.

"He certainly shouldn't have gone in for it."

Rafferty's red card triggers a three-match suspension, with him missing the games against Luton (h), Cardiff (a) and Leeds United (a).

After playing at left-back for so long this season, this was only his second game back on the right.

It leaves a gap for Neil to fill, with Darnell Fisher hopefully close for a return.

Alan Browne slotted in at right-back after Rafferty went for his early bath, before PNE went three at the back in the closing stages with skipper Tom Clarke coming off the bench for his first appearance since August after a knee ligament injury.

Neil said: "Looking at the squad at the start of the season I probably thought I had one too many right-backs.

"We had Tom Clarke who also plays centre-back, Darnell Fisher, Joe Rafferty and arguably Alan Browne who was great there again.

"Obviously I'll have to change it for Saturday."