Well, last night was a bit eventful wasn’t it? I have watched Matt Ritchie’s penalty incident over and over again and for the life of me I have absolutely no idea what the referee was thinking. At the game, I was still celebrating Ritchie’s spot-kick until my mate tapped me on the shoulder to say it hadn’t been give. No-one in the ground had any idea what was going on and after what felt like an eternity with the referee discussing the decision with his assistants (for the record, that discussion was at least 5 minutes yet why were there only 3 minutes of injury time at the end of the first half?), an indirect free kick was given to Burton Albion. Truly baffling.
The decision prompted the 50,000 in attendance to take to their phones to try to figure out what on earth was going on. I was checking Twitter and no one seemed to know why it had been chalked off but the rumours were either a stuttered run by Ritchie or someone was impeding. Now, I have to confess I do not know the penalty rules at all but my mate was adamant that if a player is impeding, the penalty should be re-taken.
After the match, an organisation I have never heard of; The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), released a statement:
“In this evening’s EFL Championship game between Newcastle United and Burton Albion, referee Keith Stroud awarded Newcastle a penalty in the 29th minute.
“As Matt Ritchie took the kick, Dwight Gayle encroached in the penalty area.
“An indirect free kick was awarded to Burton, but the Laws of the Game state that the penalty kick should have been retaken.
“Unfortunately the referee has misapplied the Law.
“Keith and his team are understandably upset at the lapse in concentration and apologise for the mistake.”
So, it turns out my mate was correct – but how on earth does a professional referee make this kind of error? Surely this is refereeing basics? How was this not sorted out when he was discussing with his colleagues? Truly baffling.
What is important though is the fact that the decision did not change the course of the game and thanks to yet another absolute thronker of a goal from Ritchie in the second half, it is another win, another clean-sheet, another 3 points and a step closer to promotion. What more could we have asked for?
An away game against Sheffield Wednesday is up next on Saturday evening – bring it on! Howay the lads!