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24th Jan 2021

Middlesbrough player left bleeding after kick to head, somehow denied penalty

Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry was left bleeding after a high boot from Jarrad Branthwaite left him with a nasty-looking laceration

Alex Roberts

Neil Warnock was understandably left fuming with the referee

Middlesbrough have been denied a clear penalty in their Sky Bet Championship game with Blackburn Rovers this afternoon. Dael Fry was left bleeding after a high boot left him with a nasty-looking laceration.

As Paddy McNair floated a cross into the box, Middlesbrough defender Fry challenged for the ball with Blackburn pair Barry Douglas and Jarrad Branthwaite.

As Fry went to head the ball, he was caught by a vicious high boot from on-loan Everton man Branthwaite. Fry immediately signalled he was in pain, and you could see the blood gushing from his face.

Middlesbrough players rushed to surround referee Dean Whitestone, who bizarrely saw nothing wrong with the incident. A goal kick was awarded to Blackburn.

The physio was brought on to tend to Fry’s cut, which looked a matter of millimetres from his eye. He can count himself lucky not to have been seriously injured. He was, however, substituted as a result of the injury, being replaced by John Buckley.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock was understandably fuming with the decision not to award his team a penalty – nor to punish Branthwaite for the high boot.

Warnock, himself a qualified referee, remonstrated with the fourth official on the sideline as Fry was being tended to by medical staff.

He could be seen mouthing the words: “How has he not seen that?”

Regardless of intention, high boots are deemed reckless play according to the laws of the game.

At the very least, this looks a clear and obvious penalty for Middlesbrough. By the letter of the law, you could also argue Branthwaite should have been dismissed for violent conduct.

Sky commentator Lee Hendrie felt the Middlesbrough players didn’t put enough of a protest up when surrounding referee Whitestone – although the referee and assistants had a clear view of the incident and should have dealt with it.

A win for Middlesbrough would put Neil Warnock’s side level on points with Bournemouth, who currently occupy sixth place and the fourth play-off spot.