Ashley Young's Dive Labelled 'Worse' Than a Leg-Breaking Tackle by Steve Parish

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2013

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish claims Ashley Young should have been sent off long before he won the match-changing penalty that sent Manchester United on their way to a 2-0 victory on Saturday.

Young was at the centre of attention all afternoon at Old Trafford, earning a booking for an earlier act of simulation before falling under Kagisho Dikgacoi’s challenge for a second time to see the Palace man sent off.

Parish is adamant Young’s earlier dive, when he appeared to flick his leg into Dikgacoi before tumbling to the deck, was one of the lowest acts in the game, and he wants referees to act accordingly, per BBC Sport’s Radio 5 Live programme:

If preventing a goal-scoring opportunity is a straight red then trying to create one by cheating should be a straight red also.

The only player in the incidents yesterday that was honest was Kagisho Dikgacoi and he's sent off and banned for the next match.

Ashley Young has a yellow card and three points and we have no points and one less player to pick from for the next game.

The score was poised at 0-0 on the stroke of half-time when Young fell under Dikgacoi’s challenge, earning a penalty even though the incident started outside the penalty area.

Parish’s greater focus, though, is on Young’s first coming-together with the Palace midfielder, which came moments after Patrice Evra had also fallen too easily. The two incidents created pressure on referee Jon Moss, who finally succumbed to United’s third penalty shout.

Richard Arrowsmith of the Daily Mail provides further quotes from Parish:

Sometimes the so-called leg breaking tackle can be in the heat of the moment. It's not intended and yet you get a straight red for it. There's a certain cynicism to diving in the penalty area that is surely worse because there's an element that's so premeditated in trying to con the referee. 

Personally, I think these things are worse than a full-blooded challenge that is not intended to hurt somebody but is just a competitive challenge in the spur of the moment.

Certainly there was an air of the inevitable about United’s penalty, as pressure built on Moss throughout a first half in which the home side created little else.

Robin van Persie smacked the bar and Michael Carrick saw a long-range effort parried away, but Evra and Young’s tumbles were their best moments, raising the volume of the crowd in time for the incident that eventually did see Dikgacoi sent off.

In fairness to Moss, he did caution Young for his act of simulation—per FA rulesbut the wider issue raised by Parish and former ref Graham Poll in the Daily Mail is whether a booking is a big enough deterrent or punishment.

Young’s earlier dive had undoubtedly created an atmosphere in which United fans were going to scream “penalty” the next time one of their players fell inside the area, so the caution proved a worthwhile evil for the United man.

Poll suggests a five-game ban for those found guilty of cheating, which is too extreme given the lack of clarity in most situations. Even with Young’s first fall it is difficult to categorically prove he went looking for the foul.

However, this isn’t the first time Young has been accused of a lack of honesty on the football field and manager David Moyes isn’t the first of his managers to warn him to curb his behaviour. Clearly a yellow card isn’t serving as a great enough deterrent, so a retrospective one-match ban in clear-cut cases is something for the FA to consider.