Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg says that Aston Villa’s late strike at Crystal Palace should have stood.

Henri Lansbury’s struck what he thought salvaged a point for the Villains in stoppage time but referee Kevin Friend ruled that Jack Grealish dived in the build-up, halting play to caution the player.

The decision raised eyebrows at the time as replays showed that the Villa skipper was impeded by Gary Cahill before he went down.

As rules stand VAR couldn’t interfere with the decision to allow the goal as the whistle had gone before the ball hit the back of the net.

“The worst decision of the weekend came during Aston Villa’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace when they were denied a stoppage-time equaliser,” Clattenburg told Sportsmail.

“The golden rule for referees now is to allow a phase of play to be completed and, if a goal is scored, then a review takes place.

“Kevin Friend failed to adhere to this when he blew his whistle and cautioned Villa midfielder Jack Grealish for diving, just before Henri Lansbury scored.

“The VAR official Andrew Madley could not interfere because Friend had already whistled before the goal was scored – and therefore prevented any review.

“Replays showed contact between Grealish and Palace defender Gary Cahill – which was not enough for a penalty – but Villa will feel very unfortunate that VAR was not able to review the situation, as the goal would have probably been allowed to stand.”

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The decision meant that Jordan Ayew’s goal was enough to give Roy Hodgosn’s men the points and leaves them with an impressive start of two wins and a draw from four league outings.

Villa manager Dean Smith however was left seething with the decision that sends them into the international break with just one win and three defeats on their return to the Premier League.

“(It was a) good goal,” he said. “I think everyone else’s view was it was a good goal.

“I’ll probably get some waffle about the reasons, but it was a poor decision. I believe any goal that is scored goes to VAR. I don’t know whether it did or not.

“For me, I didn’t understand the officials’ decision-making today.

“Simulation? No chance.

“Someone just put to me that his reputation may precede him. Well, he was the most fouled player in the Championship last season for a reason. He may be in this league as well. A perfectly good goal for me.

“If you’re Jack Grealish, I’d be raging. He’s having his integrity questioned. He’s made a great run, laid it off for Henri Lansbury to score.

“He’s had his integrity questioned not only by the officials here, but in Stockley Park as well. Jack wasn’t even looking for a foul.”

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