'A staggering error': Referee Mick Russell books Sheffield Wednesday's Jeremy Helan twice but fails to send him off
Sheffield Wednesday’s Jeremy Helan avoided seeing red in his side’s 0-0 draw against Huddersfield Town – despite being booked twice in the first thirty minutes.
Referee Mick Russell booked Helan in the ninth minute for diving, and then again in the 26 minute for a foul on Adam Hammill.
The error, labelled “staggering” by Huddersfield boss Simon Grayson, was caused by a case of mistaken identity, as Russell had originally intended to book Helan’s teammate Michail Antonio for the ninth-minute offence.
Grayson was also caught up in the confusion, believing the second card, and not the first, was the mistake.
"I think he's probably written the wrong number down in his book, which is staggering, and I also think he should have been helped by his officials, who should be overruling because they all know, when a referee makes a mistake like that, who he's booking," he said.
"He's put (Michail) Antonio's number in his book, but he was nowhere near the incident. I don't mind referee's making big mistakes in terms of tackles and sendings off, but something quite simple like that shouldn't be happening in Championship football."
Town defender Anthony Gerrard said he thought the two bookings were given to two different players, as did Wednesday’s manager Dave Jones.
Though he did not go so far as to say the decision cost his side the match, Grayson believes officials should be made to stand accountable for their errors.
"I'm not going to say Wednesday going down to 10 men would have guaranteed us winning the game, but it would have certainly helped us and what if the lad had gone on to score or created the winning goal?" he added.
"It would have been a massive talking point, which it is already. I just think referees in general should be accountable for any decisions and have a press conference after the game, whether good decisions or bad decisions.”
Former Football League official Tony Leake said before the explanation emerged he expects Russell to be forced to stand down for a period – and said a replay is not out of the question.
"You cannot rule out the possibility of a replay,” he said. "If Huddersfield won the game 3-0 I would not expect that to happen.
“But if Huddersfield believe the player being on the field meant the result did not go in their favour then it could be that the game is replayed."
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