Mike Dean returned to Premier League action on Saturday and had a huge call to make in the first half of Burnley vs West Brom.
The referee asked to have a week’s break after he received death threats following the controversial red card he handed out to West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek.
The Hammers ace was given a straight red at Craven Cottage for elbowing Aleksandar Mitrovic after a VAR review, though the contact appeared accidental and the decision was widely condemned.
He was back in the deep end almost immediately upon his return.
There was a big decision to make inside the first 30 minutes at Turf Moore where VAR asked him to head to the monitor to look at an incident again involving Baggies defender Semi Ajayi.
Conor Gallagher played his team-mate into trouble with a loose backpass which was intercepted by Matej Vydra, whose first touch cannoned into Ajayi’s right arm just past the halfway line, preventing him from going through on goal.
His check with VAR led to Ajayi’s dismissal for denying Vydra a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
The decision was probably the right call even though it took place near the halfway line and the decision was praised.
Michael Owen tweeted: “The last thing Mike Dean wanted today was another huge decision like that. Fair play to him though, he’s never been afraid of making a big decision and he got that one spot on.”
Mike Dean has now produced four red cards in the last three Premier League games he has refereed.
The match at Turf Moor passed largely without major incident and finished 0-0.
Chances fell to both sides but goalkeepers Nick Pope and Sam Johnstone were equal to the task.
The point means West Brom are 11 points off safety while Burnley stay 15th.