Webb of intrigue

26 April 2009 12:16
Rob Beasley and The Supplement panel agreed Manchester United benefitted from a crucial refereeing decision against Tottenham on Saturday - but not one that decides the title race.

United trailed 2-0 after Darren Bent and Luka Modric found the net at Old Trafford when Howard Webb ruled that Heurelho Gomes had brought down Michael Carrick inside the box when the goalkeeper actually got a good hand to the ball.

The decision incensed Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and sparked a remarkable revival by United, who went on to win the match 5-2 and return to the top of the Premier League table as Wayne Rooney (twice), Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov all found the net.

Reflecting on the incident, the News of the World's Beasley said: "It's one of the rare occasions when Sir Alex Ferguson and the opposing manager - in this case Harry Redknapp - have agreed on a contentious penalty decision.

"Harry Redknapp as you would expect saying 'no, no, no way was it a penalty' and Fergie, who has got a long reputation of saying black is white came along and agreed with his mate Harry.

"It was a key point of the match. United were trailing 2-0 and looked slow and sluggish. United didn't seem able to cope. What they needed to do was get a bit of hair-dryer treatment at half-time to inject a bit more energy in their performance.

"They were building up a head of steam and then there was this brilliant ball from Rooney, Carrick runs through into the box, Gomez was off his line so quickly and I think that might be part of the reason Howard Webb got it so wrong.

Onslaught"It was a massive moment. As soon as that Ronaldo penalty went straight down the middle into the back of the net Ronaldo runs to get the ball and he knows - we know - that it's all over. It's going to be a Manchester United onslaught from now on.

"They scored five goals in 22 minutes; you can say for a few minutes Tottenham were clouded and befuddled by a sense of injustice but you can't explain it away that simply.

"United turned it on; Rooney was just magnificent, Ronaldo was sensational and (Carlos) Tevez wouldn't give anybody a moment on the ball."

CapitulatedSam Wallace, of the Independent, agreed Webb had got it wrong saying: "There's no doubt in my mind it wasn't a penalty. It was a very hard decision. I think people are being incredibly tough on Howard Webb.

"I think we saw the best of Tottenham in the first half and the worst of them in the second-half. As soon as that first goal went in they just capitulated."

Looking ahead to the title run-in, he added: "I still fancy Arsenal to do something at Old Trafford, although it might be too little, too late by then.

"I just wonder about Rio Ferdinand - whether he's still carrying that injury because he just didn't look as sharp and he made a couple of errors, certainly on the first goal.

"I don't think that the defence that they built so much of their early season on is quite functioning as it should do and that could make things quite interesting."

Source: SKY_Sports