Aston Villa overcame Middlesborough 1-0 on aggregate tonight to progress to the play-off final against Fulham. Steve Bruce's side were made to work for it but made it through thanks to Mile Jedinak's goal and a big slice of luck as Mike Dean decided to not send off Sam Johnstone.
With the game in the balance, Sam Johnstone stormed out off his line and ended up handling the ball outside the box, saving the goalbound effort. Stewart Downing fired the subsequent freekick off the woodwork but Middlesborough fans were furious Johnstone was not sent off. Their manager Tony Pulis also expressed disappointment at the lack of a red card,
Can't believe Dean bottled that red against Johnstone, clear goalscoring opportunity that handball
— Chris Shapland (@ChrisShappy) May 15, 2018
I’m not sure how Sam Johnstone wasn’t sent off. Not sure it would’ve made much difference but still seems quite a clear cut decision
— Joe Schofield (@Joetenderloin) May 15, 2018
Sorry but why tf did Mike Dean not send off Johnstone then 🤔🤔
— John McAllister (@john_mcal) May 15, 2018
— Gazette Boro (@GazetteBoro) May 15, 2018
Think Mike Dean has really bottled that. Too aware that Johnstone would miss the final, I think. Nothing stops that from being a sending off, for me.
— Jamie Kemble (@JamieKemble) May 15, 2018
There is no doubt the Manchester United loanee was lucky to stay on the pitch. Regardless, Aston Villa are going to Wembley on the 26th of May. It also marks a good result for Villa's Irish contingent as Conor Hourihane started while Glen Whelan came on. Scott Hogan was also on the bench.