Chelsea may have eventually marched on to victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, but their cause was made easier by the dismissal of Chico Flores after just 16 minutes.
The Spanish defender earned his first booking for a foul on midfielder Willian in the 14th minute and soon after he was shown the second yellow card for pulling down Andre Schurrle just outside the Swans penalty box.
For a moment it appeared that Phil Dowd was going to keep the cards in his pocket, but then came Chelsea defender John Terry with some of his teammates to protest to the referee. After a delay, the cards came out and off went the 27-year-old centre-back.
Much was made in the aftermath of Chelsea’s win in Swansea that Terry had influenced the decision of the official, and now the 33-year-old central defender himself has admitted that he did ask Dowd to send off Flores.
‘I just said, 'It's a second yellow for me', Terry told reporters. ‘He gave him one a couple minutes before on the halfway line and that one just outside the box is probably even more a yellow than the other one.
‘Fair play to Phil, the ref, it was a big decision to make and I thought he made the right one and credit goes to him for that. I'm speaking as a Chelsea player, but when we all sit back and look at it then it's definitely two yellows. It's simple as that.
‘If it's a minute, two, five minutes into the game and it is a yellow or red card then it doesn't matter. Thankfully we managed to take advantage'.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho also did his bit in the drama, going over to the fourth official Robert Madley and urging him to dismiss Flores. It looked like Chelsea were trying to ‘bully’ the referees and eventually they got their way.
However, it would be wrong to suggest that Dowd was in any way influenced by Terry and his teammates. It was indeed “a big decision” from the 51-year-old, and one that he took time in making, but both challenges merited yellow cards.
Maybe he was in two minds about dismissing the player so early in the Premier League match, but in the end he went by the letter of the law. Fair play to Dowd.