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.
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.
Newcastle fans react to Pickford challenge
— Spencer Pritchard-Owen (@SpenPritchard) March 9, 2019
That’s absolutely embarrassing reffing for the Pickford challenge. Most blatant red card you’ll ever see! #nufc
— Joshua Burr (@punjabpie92) March 9, 2019
Lee Mason got so much wrong today. Clear red for Pickford. Clear yellow for Sigurdsson for dive. Ignoring a player down with a head injury. Not making Everton players stay off pitch after treatment.
Always feels great to beat a team of 12 men. 😃 #nufc
— Mark (@Mark74NUFC) March 9, 2019
The more I watch that Pickford tackle back the less I understand how the referee hasn’t sent him off. If Lee Mason can’t clearly see the challenge (which I find hard to believe) why isn’t his assistant in his ear telling him it’s a red card? Poor by both officials #nufc
— Chris Erswell (@chrisjwerswell) March 9, 2019
Can anyone explain to me why Pickford didn't see RED? 🚩#NUFC
— Burnsie #NUFC (@Optimistoon) March 9, 2019
An absolutely tremendous comeback. Still raging 😤 that Pickford didn’t see red, but well done lads #NUFC 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
— Littlepuntie NUFC ⚽️🏉🏎 🏃🏿♂️ (@littlepuntie) March 9, 2019
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.
in 2016, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) overturned the rule stating players denying a goal scoring opportunity are automatically sent off.
However the amendment of the rule reads as such:
“When a denial of a goal scoring opportunity offence is committed by a defender in the penalty area, the penalty kick effectively restores the goal scoring opportunity so the punishment for the player should be less strong (e.g. a yellow card) than when the offence is committed outside the penalty area.
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.