By Anthony Hay
Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway was scathing of the referee’s decision to show Damien Delaney a straight red card in the 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town.
The centre back was sent off after just 12 minutes in the Championship clash for an ugly challenge on Jermaine Beckford.
He is now suspended for three games – including the top of the table clash at Cardiff City on Boxing Day, the trip to Nottingham Forest and the home game against Wolves on New Year’s Day.
Holloway was also unimpressed by the penalty awarded to the Terriers when Joel Ward was adjudged to have brought down former Palace favourite Sean Scannell – a spot kick that was eventually saved by Julian Speroni.
“I thought he [the referee] was so quick to make the decision about Delaney. I have seen the angle, and with the benefit of hindsight, it wasn’t reckless or dangerous play,” Holloway said.
“He wasn’t the last man because Ramage would have caught him. He had a chance to get the ball and Beckford’s flicked it over him.
“They both went for the ball and Beckford’s got there first. Delaney’s momentum took him on, he even turned to try and stop his studs from touching him.
“He hit him with his body and if Delaney hits him with his body then I can tell you it is going to hurt. It is going to stop him.
“I just can’t believe how quickly – from the angle that he was at – he made that decision. I rest my case, judge him by the one he sent them off for.”
He added: “That’s a three-match ban instead of a one-match ban. If he is going to say he’s the last man and he’s deliberately brought him down then I can probably accept that.
“But for a reckless challenge, not trying to play the ball – I don’t agree. But who am I? I am just a Palace manager. I might be really biased.”
Holloway also pointed a finger at former Palace favourite Sean Scannell for the foul that led to the penalty kick.
“I felt Scannell played for it. I thought he deliberately played for it,” Holloway said. “He could have easily taken another couple of steps and struck it. But such is life.”
And on the goal that denied his 10-man team all three points, Holloway would not blame Speroni after the Argentinean pulled off a string of excellent saves, including Adam Clayton’s spot kick.
He said: “No, the equaliser is not a blooper. The ball actually came through a crowd of players, he tried to pick it up and it has slipped underneath him on a greasy day. But without him where would we have been? We would have been one down after the penalty.
“He’s a fantastic player. He’s that good, we even have a bar named after him. So am I going to criticise him when he’s saved our bacon at a really important time. I don’t think so.”
Palace travel to Cardiff City on Boxing Day looking for only their second win in seven games.
Meanwhile, the Bluebirds bounced back from losing at home for the first time this season on December 15, with a 1-0 win at Leicester on Saturday.