Scottish linesman helps Sir Alex home with crucial penalty decision

14 May 2011 08:17
ShareWhen it came down to it, a fellow Scot made the decisive intervention that ensured Sir Alex Ferguson could start celebrating a record 19th League title for Manchester United.

The man who had the say over whether Javier Hernandez was fouled for the crucial penalty was linesman Andy Halliday, a 44-year-old Army officer.

It's a penalty: United players advise Phil Dowd

With players from both sides mobbing the match officials, referee Phil Dowd waited until there was a semblance of order before having a quiet word with his assistant.

And, after a two-minute delay, Halliday - a warrant officer with the Royal Army Physical Training Corps - did not desert his duty. He told the referee that Robinson had not touched any of the ball, leaving Dowd confident enough to point to the spot, allowing Wayne Rooney to step forward and seal United's title.

Although many will say the officials came to the correct decision, there will be disquiet at attempted intimidation by United players - led by Nemanja Vidic - following the unsavoury recent Champions League clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid, when both sets of players were accused of trying to 'referee' the game.

Rooney looked relaxed as he scored the spot-kick but the England striker admitted that the delay had got to him.

'It was terrifying,' he said. 'I had to compose myself before taking the penalty because there was quite a long delay. After the year I've had, so many ups and downs, this is fantastic.

'Winning the Premier League is amazing, getting that 19th title. For me, personally, for the fans and the club, it's a great feeling.'

The penalty award was hugely contentious and is likely to split opinion, even by those afforded the luxury of having seen it on television.

A raking pass by Ryan Giggs was collected by Javier Hernandez, who sped into the penalty area. His touch around an onrushing Robinson was heavy and he appeared to start falling before the keeper reached him.

Nonetheless, Robinson did make contact with the striker rather than the ball, which ran out of play.

Blackburn players, aware the decision may yet cost them a place in the Premier League, reacted angrily but were unable to do anything as Rooney stepped up and scored a goal which could have huge ramifications at both ends of the table.

 Blackburn 1 Manchester Utd 1: Rooney holds his nerve to seal record 19th title triumphManchester United seal record 19th title following draw with Blackburn - as it happened

 Explore more:People: Wayne Rooney, Alex Ferguson, Nemanja Vidic, Ryan Giggs Places: Barcelona, United Kingdom

Source: Daily_Mail

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