Referee Eddie Ilderton made a brave call in last night's Sheffield United - Brentford match at Bramall Lane, when he reversed a penalty decision and rescinded the resulting red card.
United's Kieron Freeman was adjudged to have fouled Marcello Trotta in the penalty area, and received a straight red for denying an obvious goal chance. However, it can be clearly seen in the footage that Freeman made an excellent last-ditch intervention, and he walked off the field in utter disbelief.
Ilderton was urged by Blades players to consult with his assistant, who recommended that the penalty and red card be overturned.
Initially, the Brentford players were incensed by the change of decision, but things pretty much calmed down after Ilderton took the time to explain his reasoning to Bees' stand-in skipper Tony Craig.
The game restarted with a drop ball, while Brentford's former Irish international Jonathan Douglas continued to give Ilderton grief.
Blades boss Nigel Clough accepted that the right decision was eventually made, and praised the referee for his courage. Said Clough:
He got it wrong but he put it right. It takes a lot of courage to do that.
We wish he hadn’t got it that wrong in the first place, but he waited in the tunnel and talked to the lads at half-time and said he had a bad angle, so that is absolutely fine.
Everyone got on with the game, but it was very, very brave, and the correct thing to do.
One can only speculate on the likelihood of an away team player being reinstated in a match any time soon, especially in a derby or title decider.
The game ended 0-0.