Referee Keith Stroud 'understandably upset' after penalty blunder at Newcastle

05 April 2017 11:24

Referee Keith Stroud has admitted he blundered by not allowing Newcastle to try again with a penalty that was disallowed for encroachment in the Magpies' 1-0 win over Burton.

Matt Ritchie had a penalty ruled out after half an hour in controversial circumstances that briefly threatened to derail the Magpies' push for the title.

Stroud awarded Burton an indirect free-kick rather than ask for the spot-kick to be retaken after Dwight Gayle dashed into the penalty area before it was taken.

Rules of the game indicated Newcastle should have been allowed a second chance from 12 yards, and referees' body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) confirmed Stroud had made an error.

A statement from PGMOL said: "In the Championship game between Newcastle United and Burton Albion, referee Keith Stroud awarded Newcastle a penalty in the 29th minute. As Matt Ritchie took the kick, Dwight Gayle encroached in the penalty area. An indirect free-kick was awarded to Burton, but the Laws of the Game state that that the penalty kick should have been retaken.

"Unfortunately, the referee has misapplied the law. Keith and his team are understandably upset at the lapse in concentration and apologise for the mistake."

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez was keen to focus on the Ritchie goal that did count after Newcastle reclaimed top spot in the race to the Premier League.

Winger Ritchie struck a stunning winner with 22 minutes remaining as Newcastle pulled 10 points clear of the play-off places.

Benitez said of the penalty controversy: "You have seen the incident, you have a lot of experts to analyse, I was talking to the referee. I will not keep talking about that.

"For me it was an important game, a fantastic goal from Matt Ritchie, a great goal. There was work rate, a lot of positives and unfortunately we talk about the incident.

"The referee and me have been talking. We need to move forward. We can't change what happened. We got three points. We have to be ready to be stronger for the next one. After the incident we were losing our focus. We won.

"We knew this team was difficult to break down and to beat with a line of five at the back. We needed to make sure there was no mistake. We did it until the end and we couldn't be relaxed."

Benitez's opposite number Nigel Clough was also not too concerned about the incident but felt the penalty should not have been given in the first place, when Gayle went down under a challenge from Tom Flanagan.

Either way, Burton lost and remain threatened by relegation.

Clough was still encouraged by his side's display.

He said: "I didn't think it was a penalty in the first place. I don't know about that. I am pleased it wasn't the game-deciding issue. Somebody has put the ball in the top corner. I am pleased about that. You don't want controversial decisions to decide matches.

"But I thought it was a magnificent effort by our lads. Disappointed we didn't get a goal, we had enough chances. We had a great chance with Jackson Irvine's volley, a few others, we stayed in the game even at 1-0. It took a wonderful strike to beat us.

"I don't think our spirit will be dented by tonight. We battled as well as we did, (lost) only by the one goal, we shouldn't apportion blame."

Source: PA


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