Newcastle United referee apologises for bizarre penalty decision

Callum Davis
Matt Ritchie remonstrates with referee Keith Shroud  - PA Wire

Referee Keith Shroud was booed from the pitch at half time in Newcastle's match with Burton Albion after a bizarre decision to disallow Matt Ritchie's penalty.

When Dwight Gayle was barged to the ground early in the first half Keith Shroud wasted no time in awarding the home side a penalty kick. 

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Midfielder Matt Ritchie stepped up and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to seemingly give Newcastle the lead.

Matt Ritchie converts from the spot before referee Keith Shroud awards a free-kick to Burton AlbionCredit: REX

However, to the confusion of everyone in the ground and everyone on Twitter, Shroud blew his whistle to disallow the goal before awarding Burton Albion a free-kick.

Rafa Benitez joined his players in furiously remonstrating with the match officials, but to no avail as the match eventully restarted with a Burton free-kick.

Newcastle went on to win the game 1-0 but referee Keith Shroud admitted he had made a mistake in an official statement via Professional Game Match Officials Limited.

"Unfortunately the referee has misapplied the Law. Keith and his team and understandably upset at the lapse in concentration and apologise for the mistake," read a PGMOL statement. 

Football League rules state that a penalty kick should be retaken if the attacking team are ruled to have encroached into the area - but Shroud failed to order the spot kick to be retaken. 

The bizarre incident produced a confused response from Newcastle United's official Twitter account.

Referee Keith Shroud consulted his fellow match officials before restarting the game to resounding boos from the St James' Park faithful.

Newcastle United, who are looking for an instant return to the Premier League, currently sit second in the Championship table, two points behind league leaders Brighton. 

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