Middlesbrough beat nine-man Leeds 1-0 in the npower Championship match at Elland Road in a match dominated by controversial refereeing decisions.
With fans protesting about chairman Ken Bates off the field, referee Anthony Taylor dominated proceedings on it by sending off three players - two from Leeds - while Marvin Emnes struck a second-half winner.
Max Gradel and Tony McMahon, both booked in the fifth minute following a minor skirmish, saw red before half-time, with Leeds captain Jonny Howson following them down the tunnel on the hour following a controversial incident involving Emnes.
Howson had already been booked after an almost unavoidable foul on Emnes following a Michael Brown error, and, when the two collided as they raced towards a vacant Leeds half, Taylor gave the decision in Howson’s favour.
But, as Emnes lay on the floor, Grayson claims Taylor was told to change his initial verdict by his assistant, Keith Lawson, who had to take over the fourth official duties after getting injured just a minute earlier.
Boro manager Tony Mowbray, while happy to take the points, was equally puzzled by some decisions and felt the official had failed to take the mood of the ground into account.
“We were only interested in the final result,” he said.
“It was a game of swinging emotions and frustrations, but we’ll put it behind us very quickly as we have the points.
“How referees decide to manage football matches is probably decided before they start. When I came to watch Leeds and Middlesbrough in the 1970s there seemed to be a sending-off every game.
“It’s a fantastic atmosphere to play football in and I think it over-hypes the players. My own personal view is the referee had a difficult day.”
Having conceded a last-minute equaliser against Portsmouth on the opening day, Mowbray was pleased to see his players survive a late Leeds assault, with goalkeeper Andy Lonergan a regular fixture in their box as the home side pressed.
“We have been vulnerable to late barrages in the past and thankfully today we didn’t succumb to it, as it happened to us a few times last year as well.”
Read the full story in Monday’s Mail ...