Alexander Isak was Newcastle United’s hero against Nottingham Forest on Friday night, but it was very nearly Elliot Anderson.
Eddie Howe brought Anderson on for Allan Saint-Maximin at half time, and it looked like the youngster had scored his first ever Newcastle goal.
Isak dug out a brilliant cross towards the 20-year-old, and he powered a header into the back of the net. It led to wild scenes in the away end and on the pitch, as Anderson celebrated his first ever Toon goal…or so he thought.
My immediate reaction to the goal was that it might be chalked off, as it looked like Sean Longstaff was offside in the buildup. Isak’s initial effort was blocked by the Forest defender, and then cleared away.
However, the clearance hit Longstaff, which apparently means he was offside. It wasn’t VAR that made the decision though, as they instructed referee Paul Tierney to look at the screen.
He then made the decision to chalk the goal off, which seemed incredibly harsh. Longstaff did not play the ball – it was played off him.
In the end, the decision did not matter as Isak netted a late penalty to make it 2-1. However, it still feels like an injustice.
Steve Harper says VAR decision was ‘dreadful’
Following the incident, former Newcastle goalkeeper and current academy chief Steve Harper gave his view on the decision – and it is fair to say he was not pleased.
He wrote on Twitter: “That’s a dreadful VAR decision! How is it offside when two Forest players have intentionally played the ball before Longstaff becomes active.”
Huge shame as Elliot Anderson is denied first Newcastle goal
Harper sums up the confusion pretty well. Longstaff was offside when Isak first plays the ball, but two Forest players touch it before it makes contact with the 25-year-old.
It was a ‘dreadful’ decision as Harper says, and a real shame for Anderson. He was excellent off the bench, and it was an incredible moment to see him score what he thought was his first Toon goal.
Sadly it was ruled out, but it will not be long before Anderson hits the net again in a Newcastle United shirt.
What a talent he is, and what a shambles VAR is.