Newcastle United may have recorded a fantastic 3-2 comeback against Everton on Saturday, but some Newcastle fans are still incensed by a key refereeing decision.

After going down 1-0 to Everton in the first half, the Magpies were given a chance to get back into the game when goalkeeper Jordan Pickford conceded a penalty.

The England number one was attempting to claim a cross, but completely spilled the ball for the onrushing Salomon Rondon.

(Photo by Tony McArdle – Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images)

The keeper then dove forward and clattered into Toon striker inside the box.

Referee Lee Mason did not hesitate to give a penalty, but unusually Pickford’s challenge went completely unpunished.

The challenge however was off the ball, with no genuine attempt to play the ball, and denied Rondon a chance to score.

Fans have been left bewildered as to how the keeper did not even receive a yellow card, never mind a straight red.

It ended up almost costing Newcastle, as Pickford went on to save Matt Ritchie’s penalty.

Ironically though, the decision ended up being a saving grace. Pickford went on to have a shocking second half and his errors contributed to two of Newcastle’s goals.

Without him in goal, the Toon may well not have managed to secure such an impressive comeback.

Nevertheless, Newcastle fans are angry and still utterly confused as to how Pickford remained on the pitch.

 

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

 

Newcastle fans react to Pickford challenge

 

What do the rules say?

The laws on denying a goalscoring opportunity have changed over the years.

Prior to 2016, denying a goal scoring opportunity would often heed a ‘triple punishment’.

A penalty was given, the offending player was red carded, and then that player was also suspended for upcoming matches.

However this rule has been relaxed for the last few seasons.

in 2016, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) overturned the rule stating players denying a goal scoring opportunity are automatically sent off.

The rule makers deemed that a penalty made up for the loss of a goal scoring opportunity and so that the offending team should not be further punished.

However the amendment of the rule reads as such:

“However, when the offence is handball or clearly not a genuine attempt to play or challenge for the ball, the player will be sent off.”

Therefore Mason clearly believed it was a genuine attempt to challenge for the ball, or an ‘accidental foul’. But even then it is odd he did not give a yellow card.

But when the challenge occurred, the ball was nowhere near Rondon. So according to the rules, it should have been a red card.

Newcastle have now had many key decisions go against them this season, and fans are right to be annoyed.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)