By Graham Hill
FORMER referee Dermot Gallagher says Jack Grealish did NOT dive to earn a penalty against Albion on Saturday.
But he says Tammy Abraham was ‘lucky’ not to give away a spot-kick when he collided with Mason Holgate in the Villa box.
Grealish has faced accusations that he cheated to win the penalty that gave Villa a 2-1 lead against the Baggies.
Abraham converted it after Albion’s Kieran Gibbs was ruled to have brought down the Villa skipper.
But Gallagher, speaking on Sky Sports News’ Ref Watch on Tuesday, said Grealish was in the clear over any allegations of simulation.
It had been suggested that the FA were considering a charge of attempting to deceive the match officials against Grealish.
That would have seen him banned for the remainder of Villa’s Play-off campaign.
But Gallagher was quick to point out that Grealish was fouled by Gibbs.
Gallagher said while reviewing a replay of the incident: “It’s a penalty for me.
“He takes the back leg, people say to me it’s not a penalty, but he drags his leg back in.
“He’s going after the ball at speed, but doesn’t take the ball.”
But Gallagher was amazed that ref Graham Scott did not point to the spot when Abraham collided with Mason Holgate.
He added: “Why wasn’t that a penalty, I don’t know.
“He’s a lucky boy, he gets nowhere near the ball.
“I think that’s a penalty.”
Gallagher agreed that a player cannot push over a player who is holding his ground.
It means Gallagher felt the game could have ended 2-2 in terms of decisions given and not given.
But he says that Albion striker Dwight Gayle can have no complaints about the two yellow cards he collected at Villa Park.
The sending off means Gayle is banned from the second leg and, if Albion claw back and overhaul Villa, an appearance at Wembley.
Gallagher said the first yellow card, for time wasting, had been coming for a while – and the second was always going to be a booking if he did not make contact with the ball.
Albion boss Jimmy Shan complained about the first caution – but Gallagher confirmed Gayle was ‘on a warning’.
Gallagher explained as he reviewed the incident on Sky: “This is an artificial picture.
“This doesn’t tell the full story.
“West Brom had been delaying for a long, long timer at this point.
“Gayle had been spoken to before this as he’d been taking throw ins from that area.
“And the referee had said to him on a previous occasion that he must get a move on.
“He’d actually gone across and told him.
“He’d waited and waited, he’d motioned him along to take the throw in and he didn’t so it was a yellow card.”
Gallagher then looked at the incident where Gayle collides with Villa keeper Jed Steer as they both went for the ball.
He added: “Why is it a yellow card? The fact that he’s gone straight into the keeper with his feet like that.
“There is a point where you have to realise there is a consequence of your actions.
“I think he knows that, if he doesn’t get the ball, he’s going to get the goalkeeper.
“I know you say he has to go for the ball, but you see that on Saturday like I did, I fully expected a yellow card-red card. It was no surprise to me.”