Tom Heaton shares what Kevin Friend told him at full-time after Aston Villa's draw

Tom Heaton of Aston Villa looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on August 31, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Aston Villa were beaten 1-0 by Crystal Palace at the weekend, but were cruelly denied an equalising goal.

Tom Heaton of Aston Villa looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on August 31, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Tom Heaton has told the Telegraph that Kevin Friend said at full-time that he had a clear view of the Jack Grealish incident, which led to Aston Villa incorrectly being denied a point against Crystal Palace.

Henri Lansbury thought he had rescued a draw for Villa in the last minute on Saturday, when he lashed home from close range in the last minute.

However, Friend called the play back and inexplicably booked Grealish for simulation on the edge of the area.

Replays showed that Grealish was first pushed by Wilfried Zaha and then taken out by Gary Cahill, as he looked to create an opening for Villa.

 

The decision to book Grealish has to rank up there with the most confusing in the Premier League so far this season, and Villa’s players were understandably furious at full-time.

The claret and blues ultimately lost 1-0 to Palace, in what could be a damaging defeat.

But Friend told Villa’s players that he had nothing obstructing his vision when he made the decision at full-time.

“The referee said to us at the end he had a clear view of it, but that is not my opinion,” Heaton, who cost Villa £8 million (Telegraph) this summer, said.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa not happy after getting a Yellow Card from Referee Kevin Friend

“I think there were a couple, maybe even three fouls in there, a shove in the back and then Gary Cahill wipes him out. I’m not sure with VAR, when it lands to Henri and it goes in, can you bring it back or not – I am lost on the details.”

If Friend could see the incident clearly then it makes his decision all the more baffling, and Villa are right to be up in arms about the call.

There is nothing that Smith’s side’s can do about the poor officiating now though, and they will have to re-focus, as they look to get back to winning ways.

Villa now have two weeks off over the international break, before they take on West Ham United in their next match.

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