Everton captain Phil Neville has called on the FA to rescind the red card shown to team-mate Jack Rodwell in Saturday’s 2-0 derby defeat to Liverpool at Goodison Park.
The England Under-21 midfielder received his marching orders from referee Martin Atkinson just over 20 minutes into the match after a challenge on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez which seemed more mistimed than malicious, and the Reds made the most of their man advantage to grab the points.
Everton have already confirmed they have lodged an appeal against the decision, and Neville believes rescinding Rodwell's punishment is the only sensible option for the FA’s disciplinary panel.
"Hopefully sense will prevail and the red card will be rescinded," he told evertonTV.
"I don't think it was a sending-off, it was a bad decision but we all have bad days - we all play badly, but we don't think we got the rub of the green with decisions.
"It was just a poor decision. I don't want to have a go at referees because they have an unbelievably tough job and he doesn't need me telling him that he was poor but it's a bitter pill to swallow because we lost the game in the manner that we did."
Saturday’s clash was a typically feisty affair, and Everton keeper Tim Howard claims Atkinson’s decision to send off Rodwell so early on only heightened the tension.
"It was the furthest thing from a sending-off you could see," the United States international added.
"I don't know about his positioning and whether he could see properly or not but it was the wrong call, particularly in a derby. You need to be strong and calm the emotional atmosphere.
"All that did with the wrong call was electrify both sides even more and it is not what that game needs.
"All in all it had a huge negative effect on the game."