EVERTON have been handed a major boost in their Premier League survival bid with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s “disgraceful” red card getting overturned.
The Toffees striker, 26, was controversially sent off in Thursday’s drab 0-0 FA Cup third-round tie away at Crystal Palace.
Calvert-Lewin slid in and claimed the ball before catching Nathaniel Clyne with minimal contact on the shin.
And after play was initially waved on with no foul given, referee Chris Kavanagh was sent to the pitchside monitor by the VAR and subsequently brandished the red – to the shock of the Everton players, manager Sean Dyche and virtually everyone watching.
The sending off warranted a three-match ban, another big blow for 17th-placed Toffees who have already been docked ten points this season for breaching FFP rules and are now one point above the drop zone having played a game more than Luton.
However, Everton launched an appeal to The FA to get the first red card of Calvert-Lewin’s career wiped.
They were particularly keen to know how Kavanagh’s original decision was deemed a ‘clear and obvious error’.
But now The FA have confirmed common sense prevailed as the red card was rescinded.
And that means Calvert-Lewin will be available for selection for Everton’s Premier League games against Aston Villa at home on Sunday and away at Fulham on January 30, as well as the Palace replay next Wednesday.
The FA said: “Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be available for Everton’s next three games following a successful claim of wrongful dismissal.
“The striker was sent off for serious foul play in the Emirates FA Cup game against Crystal Palace on Thursday, January 4 2024.”
Calvert-Lewin looked genuinely bemused to be given his marching orders after Kavanagh was shown slow-mo replays on the screen.
And even opposition defender Joachim Andersen appeared to tell him “it’s not a red” as he shook hands with the England international.
Toffees hero Peter Reid tweeted: “I’ve lost the will to live, game’s gone.”
And fans watching the drama unfold from home also raged at the decision.
One said: “No physical contact at all. Goodness, what is going on.”
A second wrote: “Disgraceful decision by a terrible ref.”
And a third added: “An absolute joke. The beautiful game is finished RIP FOOTBALL.”
And ex-Premier League ref Mark Halsey told SunSport: “None of the players on either side reacted to the challenge.
“I do not understand why VAR Craig Pawson recommended a pitchside review and I’m surprised Kavanagh did not stick with his original decision.
“You can argue it was ‘reckless’ and worthy of a caution but it did not meet the criteria for ‘serious foul play’.
“It did not ‘endanger the safety of an opponent with excessive force or brutality’.
“Those challenges happen all the time and the slo-mo replays always make them appear worse than they are.”
The winners of the replay at Goodison Park next week will play Luton or Bolton at home in the FA Cup fourth round on the last weekend of January.