Aston Villa boss Dean Smith defends Jack Grealish and fumes at the officials after ‘perfectly good equaliser’ ruled out against Crystal Palace

Dean Smith criticised the officials for ruling out what he considered to be a ‘perfectly good’ last-gasp equaliser as 10-man Aston Villa were beaten at Crystal Palace.

After securing a rare victory at Manchester United last weekend, the Eagles had just about enough to win as Jordan Ayew’s second-half strike secured a 1-0 win against a Villa side who played with a man short for over half an hour following the dismissal of Trezeguet.

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Dean Smith felt it necessary to defend Jack Grealish
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The visitors thought they had rescued a late point as substitute Henri Lansbury smashed home but referee Kevin Friend pulled play back and booked indignant Villa captain Jack Grealish for simulation.

It was unclear whether or not Friend had consulted the video assistant referee before blowing his whistle but the goal was chalked off and Villa were denied their equaliser.

Smith, who named the same starting line-up that beat Everton last week, felt the goal should have stood and defended Grealish against accusations of simulation.

“(It was a) good goal,” he said. “I think everyone else’s view was good goal.

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Grealish was left flabbergasted by the decision
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The Villa players were left fuming after Kevin Friend booked Grealish
Getty Images – Getty

“No one could understand why it wasn’t given. I spoke in the week about VAR and subjective decisions but that system is meant to right wrongs.

“I wondered what I’d be like when that system went against me. He got a nudge from (Wilfried) Zaha in the back. As he offloads it, (Gary) Cahill comes into the tackle as well. Simulation? No chance.

“Someone just put to me that his reputation may precede him. Well, he was the most fouled player in the Championship last season for a reason. He may be in this league as well. A perfectly good goal for me.

“I’ll probably get some waffle about the reasons, but it was a poor decision. I believe any goal that is scored goes to VAR. I don’t know whether it did or not.

“For me, I didn’t understand the officials’ decision-making today.

“If you’re Jack Grealish, I’d be raging. He’s having his integrity questioned. He’s made a great run, laid it off for Henri Lansbury to score.

“He’s had his integrity questioned not only by the officials here, but in Stockley Park as well. Jack wasn’t even looking for a foul.”

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