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Leeds vs. Norwich: All the 2s

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Liverpool pair in the clear after Bolton clash

Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Mohamed Sissoko and West Ham's Nigel Reo-Coker have all escaped trial by television after controversial incidents in their respective matches yesterday.

The Anfield pair were accused by Bolton manager Sam Allardyce of stamping on two of his players in the 2-2 draw at the Reebok, while Reo-Coker's bruising tackle saw Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien carried off in the 3-1 win at Upton Park.

However, having received the reports from referees Mark Clattenburg (at Bolton) and Howard Webb the Football Association have confirmed they will not be taking any action.

In both matches the referees said they saw the incidents and therefore, under FIFA rules, the FA cannot take retrospective action against players using video evidence.

An FA spokesman said: 'Referee Mark Clattenburg has confirmed to us that he saw both incidents during the game.

'There will not be any disciplinary action [against Reo-Coker] because the referee dealt with the matter at the time by awarding a free-kick to Chelsea.'

Allardyce was furious at the time that neither Gerrard nor Sissoko were punished by Clattenburg after the England midfielder appeared to stamp on Kevin Nolan, while the Mali international clashed with El-Hadji Diouf as the Bolton striker was on the floor.

'Gerrard stamped on Nolan, and Sissoko stamped on Diouf. They are plain and clear to me,' he said.

'Both should have been sent off. It is not anything other than intentional from my point of view.

'That's sad, because the outcome would probably been three points for us rather than a draw.'

Meanwhile, Blackburn defender Ryan Nelsen has been charged with improper conduct by the FA after accusing referee Mark Halsey of having 'a nice track record' of dismissing Rovers players.

His comments were made after Blackburn's 2-0 defeat to Everton in the Barclays Premiership on December 3, a match in which Rovers had captain Andy Todd sent off for a handball offence.

Rovers were incensed with the decision, as Todd made minimal contact, but Halsey decided he had prevented a goalscoring opportunity.

Nelsen, who recalled Halsey dismissing Zurab Khizanishvili earlier in the season at Anfield, said at the time: 'The sending-off changed the game, but it happened with the same referee against Liverpool.

'He cost us points in that game and he's cost us points in this game as well. For some reason he likes giving red cards to us.

'It's the referee who decides, not the linesman, and he asked what he wanted to hear. He's got a nice track record of sending off Blackburn players now, so something might be up.

'You can tell when they think they might have made a mistake because they don't want to listen. Sending Andy off was ruthless.'

The FA decided Nelsen has a case to answer, stating: 'The comments implied bias by the match officials.'

New Zealand international Nelsen, a 28-year-old who joined the club from DC United last January, has until January 17 to respond to the charge.