Ref Review: Man Utd goal correctly ruled out; Smalling horror show

It was a weekend of penalty controversy on Premier League matchday 27 with Manchester United very fortunate at St James’ Park.

Refereeing decisions are regularly the source of debate among fans, pundits, players and managers so this season a five-strong TEAMtalk panel will be passing judgement on every red card (or avoidance of one), every penalty and any other major incident every matchday.

We’ll also decide on a weekly basis which side can consider themselves lucky and which was the easiest decision for a match official to make.


Stoke City penalty v Brighton 

Truly bizarre finale at the bet365 Stadium. Jese won a rather soft penalty after Dale Stephens was called for a shove but then mayhem ensured as he ended up in a ruck with Charlie Adam over who should take it. Jese was furious not to be on the spot kick and his mood probably didn’t improve when Adam stepped up and saw his effort saved brilliantly by Matthew Ryan. It was a dubious award though and we are not sure the officials made the right call.

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Javier Hernandez offside v Watford

The Hammers eventually got the job done but were not happy with ref Graham Scott or his assistant after Hernandez was called offside and had a ‘goal’ chalked off with the score still 0-0. To be fair it’s some call from the linesman in real time as slo mo replays  showed the Mexican was off. Just.

Verdict: Correct decision


Huddersfield Town penalty v Bournemouth

Given the score was already 3-1 and it happened deep into stoppage time, the penalty award was hardly a game-changer. However it was a perfectly legitimate call. Dan Gosling clumsily brought down Alex Pritchard and the ref couldn’t really do anything but point to the spot.

Verdict: Correct decision


Newcastle United penalty appeal v Manchester United

Blatant penalty for Newcastle as Dwight Gayle is upended in the box by Chris Smalling? Smalling got nothing of the ball and the ref was stood in the perfect position to see it. Yet despite the protestations of the Toon Army referee Craig Pawson waved play on. Terrible shout ref!

Verdict: Incorrect decision


Manchester United disallowed goal v Newcastle United

The Red Devils thought they’d got themselves in front on Tyneside but their joy was short lived. Antonio Valencia chipped a clever ball into the area, Smalling climbed and nodded it over for Romelu Lukaku, who then headed home. However Pawson rightly blew up for a foul by Smalling, who was all over a Newcastle defender in the area.

Verdict: Correct decision


Smalling dive v Newcastle

Chris Smalling took a blatant dive when Jonjo Shelvey attempted to make a tackle. He was rightfully booked, but to add insult to injury from the resulting free-kick Newcastle scored the only goal of the game.

Verdict: Correct decision


Antonio Valencia yellow card v Newcastle

Crazy challenge by Valencia, who clattered into Atsu with a high boot then comically claimed that he got the ball. A stonewall booking.

Verdict: Correct decision


Liverpool penalty appeal v Southampton

The Reds wanted a penalty after Firmino took a tumble in the area after colliding with Jack Stephens. The latter definitely had his arm around the shoulder of the Brazilian but Fimino definitely made a meal of it and that probably made up the ref’s mind not to give it. Close but correct call.

Verdict: Correct decision


Team most likely to feel brassed off award


It’s a tough gig being a Newcastle fan these days and even tougher when decisions like that penalty shout go against you. Former Toon boss Graeme Souness was unequivocal, saying “For me it’s a penalty. He doesn’t get the ball. He gets the player and it’s inside the box. What more do you need to know?” Touché.


Stonewall decision of the week

Huddersfield penalty

Huge result for the Terriers this. Their first win in two months. And Michael Oliver won’t get many easier calls to make all season. It was all a bit brainless from Gosling.