REFEREE Mark Halsey has saved Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini from an extensive ban following his head-butt on Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross during the heated 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Fellaini yesterday accepted a charge of violent conduct for the incident, which officials missed, and was banned retrospectively by the Football Association for three games.
But the Belgian avoided a much longer ban because Halsey admitted seeing a further two incidents involving Fellaini and Shawcross late in the game, but deemed neither to be violent conduct.
Fellaini has been inspirational in Everton’s fine start to the Premier League season but is now out until the New Year. The 25-year-old will miss upcoming fixtures against West Ham, Wigan and Chelsea.
“I apologise completely to Ryan Shawcross, my team mates and to our fans at the game,” said Fellaini after the match. “I have also apologised to the manager and the staff. I have no excuses, I was disappointed with the way I was being treated and I lost my temper, which was unprofessional of me.”