Aston Villa robbed of 96th minute equaliser as Jack Grealish booked for diving

Crystal Palace v Aston Villa - Premier League

For newly-promoted sides, getting points in the Premier League is difficult enough. 

Aston Villa sit in the relegation zone having won just one of their four opening games.

Dean Smith's side were dealt another blow on Saturday afternoon as they suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Crystal Palace. 

It represents another solid result for the Eagles a week on from stunning Manchester United at home. 

However, Roy Hodgson will know only too well that his side got away with one at Selhurst Park. 

Villa looked to have equalised in the 96th minute of injury time when Henri Lansbury slotted into the net. 

Before Lansbury's teammates could properly embark on their celebrations, Kevin Friend found himself at the centre of a group of furious Villa players as he wielded a yellow card to Jack Grealish.

The 23-year-old was booked for allegedly diving, despite making no claim that he had been fouled and expecting play to go on.  

Grealish erupts 

Now to play devil's advocate, and in the referee's defence, he had already blown the whistle in the build-up.

Palace could argue that they were therefore not defending as they might have when Lansbury finished, though Gary Cahill looked to sympathise with Grealish as he sought to calm the midfielder down. 

Take a look at the incident below: 

Decisions like that could well turn out to be the difference between staying up and going down come the end of the season. 

To further rub salt in the wounds, it was Jordan Ayew's strike that turned out to be the winner - a man who formed part of the Villains' squad that was relegated in 2016. 

Trezeguet had already seen red to send Friend hurtling even further down Smith's Christmas card list. 

Gary Lineker tweeted:

"The disallowed goal for @AVFCOfficial in the last minute has to be seen to be believed. Why VAR didn’t correct what appeared to be an awful refereeing error is beyond me."

One thing's for sure, whatever your opinion of the Grealish incident. Referees still seem to be making serious errors that impact results. 

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