Newcastle United have been given a lift ahead of the club’s festive fixtures – after Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett had their bans lifted.
The Football Association yesterday revealed that the red cards shown to the pair in the Championship leaders’ defeat to Nottingham Forest had been overturned on appeal.
Benitez felt Lansbury had been play-acting in each incident.
Shelvey was facing a three-match ban, while Dummett was set to miss Saturday’s home game against Birmingham City.
The pair were controversially sent off by referee Stephen Martin in Friday night’s 2-1 loss at the City Ground for separate incidents involving Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury.
United manager Rafa Benitez hit out at “clever” Lansbury after the game.
Midfielder Shelvey was dismissed for aiming a kick at Lansbury. Benitez felt the midfielder had been provoked and that Lansbury’s reaction, spotted by Martin’s assistant, had been exagerated.
Dummett was sent off after Lansbury went down in the box under a challenge from the Newcastle defender.
Martin awarded penalties against United for the incidents.
Both spot kicks were saved by Karl Darlow, though nine-man United – who led at the break through a Matt Ritchie strike – went on to concede two second-half goals.
Benitez felt Lansbury had been play-acting in each incident, and the club appealed the decisions on Monday.
The FA yesterday announced that the pair had had their suspensions lifted after an independent commission had examined the dismissals.
A United statement read: “Both Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett have had their suspensions withdrawn with immediate effect after their wrongful dismissal claims were successful following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.
“The Newcastle United pair were dismissed for violent conduct and denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity respectively during the game against Nottingham Forest on 2nd December 2016.”
Martin – whose decisions in the game were widely criticised – has been left without a game this weekend.
Newcastle have had two more games selected for live broadcast by Sky Sports.
The game against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Saturday, February 11 has had its kick-off time put back to 5.30pm, while the home game against Aston Villa has been put back to Monday, February 20 with an 8pm kick-off.
Meanwhile, former United assistant coach Ian Cathro has laughed off criticism of his coaching methods.
Cathro was this week appointed as head coach of Heart of Midlothian.
Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd had ridiculed the 30-year-old’s use of a laptop in a newspaper column.
“I’ve got numerous powerpoint presentations I can show to everybody, you just need to lift the laptop and it will be set up,” joked Cathro at his unveiling.
“If you met me when I was 18, you’d have thought, what a boring 40-year-old he is. Comment on football is one of the reasons football is what it is.
“(My) responsibility is to make sure that prior to the first whistle in the game, we expect to win. I use the word expect, and that takes a lot of work.
“It’s difficult, but that is our responsibility, to help the players improve on a daily basis, that’s my vision.
“The improvement in the team, how the team can control games and make it more likely that we win games more regularly. Beyond that, time will tell.”