Former Premier League official and current Sky Sports expert and pundit Dermot Gallagher has said that referee Chris Kavanagh made a “first-class” decision to send Everton’s Ashley Williams off in their 2-1 defeat to Burnley on Saturday.
The Toffees were trailing the Clarets as they entered the final five minutes of their clash at Turf Moor, with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood having turned the game around for the home side after Cek Tosun’s opener.
With four minutes left to play and a free kick ready to be delivered, Ashley Barnes received a whack in the face from the elbow of Williams, and Kavanagh held up play before showing the Everton defender a red card, which was his first dismissal of the season.
Analysing the incident, Gallagher said that while many were questioning what had happened, the referee had performed exceptionally to spot the incident and act accordingly.
Delivering his rave review of Kavanagh in his column on Sky Sports’ website, he said: “Correct decision.
“This is an absolute first-class decision by Chris Kavanagh.
“Many were saying: ‘What is that for?!’ When you see the replay again, it’s not only a good identification, but a perfect application.”
Football Insider verdict
Williams and Everton have very little to complain about, with the defender allowing his frustrations to boil over in a moment of madness. He will now be missing for the club’s next three games, which see them play host to Brighton and visit Stoke City before welcoming league leaders Manchester City to Goodison Park at the end of the month. His absence will be a huge loss to Sam Allardyce and his men, and the manager will be hoping that Williams’ team mates can raise their game to avoid a slide down the table. The centre back could return for the crunch derby clash with Liverpool in April, but after his conduct against Burnley, his place may well be at stake.