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A day to forget for ref Mike Dean

Mike Dean is probably one of the best referees in the Premier League today but it’s hard to imagine a season where he hasn’t just gone slightly off kilter and courted controversy.

Saturday’s Premier League encounter at the Vitality Stadium between Bournemouth and Manchester City seemed pretty straight forward until the Wirral-born official decided in the second half of the game that he wanted to be the centre of attention.

Bournemouth, who had failed to score in their two opening fixtures, got off to an absolute stonker when Charlie Daniels hit a spectacular effort from an acute angle that fizzed past Ederson in the Man City goal but it took only two minutes for the visitors to get back on level terms after David Silva’s incisive pass was poked behind Asmir Begovic by the increasingly impressive Gabriel Jesus.

City, clearly the better side, huffed and puffed as they looked for the winner but time continued to ebb away. The fourth official signalled that there was going to be five minutes of added-on time and just after the 90th minute mark, Dean’s attention was drawn to a falling-out on the sideline between an animated Guardiola and Howe.

It took him less than a minute to sort the distraction out and the game was back on. By the 95th minute the catcalls from the crowd at the Vitality Stadium to end the game had reached a crescendo but Dean for some reason needed to let everyone know he was in charge and as a consequence jettisoned the old football adage that points to the best referees as the ones that are hardly noticed.

The game consequently dragged into the 97th minute when a deflected Rahim Sterling’s effort nestled into the back of the net to give City the win.

Pandemonium broke out. A second yellow for Sterling meant he was off but it was of little cheer for Bournemouth who were left to wonder why Dean hadn’t ended the match within the allocated five minutes he’d indicated as added-on time.

More intriguingly, why did Dean book Sterling alone for celebrating with his own fans when there were clearly four or five Manchester City players who had also joined the England forward to celebrate with the fans?

Dean’s flirtation with controversy reads like a long list of crime thrillers in a public library and his performance in the game was already on the spotlight after he missed two important decisions that could have had a huge influence on how it could have panned out.

Early in the first half, Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake finds himself in a bit of a bother, deliberately trips Gabriel Jesus who was through on goal and gets only a yellow card when a red would not have raised eyebrows.

Later, Steve Cook with studs high enough for everyone at the stadium to admire, lunges into Jesus in a bone-crunching tackle that drew collective gasps in the stadium.

Again, Dean, preferred to brandish only a yellow when a red looked like the most suitable colour.

It is perhaps fair to point out that the yellow card for Sterling’s over-exuberant celebrations is not implausible and probably falls within the letter of the law but it is the context that brings Dean’s actions to fore.

Was he trying to placate the home fans for the goal that was scored as a consequence of the added time?

Was he just suddenly overwhelmed by the chaotic scenes that was triggered by Sterling’s celebrations?

All in all, it’s safe to say that this is one performance he would want to quickly forget but will his handling of the next match he is assigned to be less controversial?

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