Behind the Whistle: Stevenage and Fleetwood ‘wrongly denied pens’

20 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

In Behind the Whistle, former Premier League referee Chris Foy goes through a selection of key match decisions from the latest Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two action.

Behind the Whistle aims to give supporters of EFL clubs an insight into the decision-making considerations and also clarification of certain calls to provide an understanding of how the laws of the game are interpreted.

As part of a regular feature on Sky Sports following the conclusion of a matchday, Foy runs you through some refereeing matters in the EFL…   

Millwall 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday

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Sheffield Wednesday’s Ashley Fletcher received two quick yellow cards and was sent off in his side’s win against Millwall

Incident: Possible second yellow card (Sheffield Wednesday)

Decision: Second yellow card awarded (Sheffield Wednesday)

Foy says: “Having already been shown a yellow card moments before for kicking the ball away the referee is left with no doubt in his mind about showing a second yellow to the Sheffield Wednesday player (Ashley Fletcher) for this foul.

“As the Millwall player takes a touch past him, the Sheffield Wednesday No 27 makes no attempt to play the ball and deliberately trips him from behind. This clearly stops a promising attacking opportunity for Millwall.

“In my view, it is a clear second yellow card as the play was developing in front of him and the Sheffield Wednesday player put a halt to that with a very cynical trip. The referee is left with little option but to issue a second yellow and send off the player.”

Preston North End 2-2 Blackburn Rovers

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Should Preston have been awarded a penalty for this challenge by a Blackburn player?

Incident: Possible penalty – foul (Preston North End)

Decision: No penalty awarded (Preston North End)

Foy says: This phase of play highlights two positive bits of officiating, the first of which is a good offside call.

“As the ball is played through to the Preston North End No 7, it looks initially like a possible offside, however the assistant referee has excellently judged a well-timed run with Blackburn’s No 5 playing him onside.

“As the play develops into the penalty area, the referee works hard to get into a very good position to view the penalty appeal. The ball falls to the Preston No 23 in the penalty area, and the positioning of the referee allows him to see that Blackburn’s No 6 competes for the ball and any contact with the attacker is minimal and this does not meet the high threshold for penalising contact.

“Both the referee and his assistant did well here to let play develop and ultimately make two correct decisions.”

Derby County 1-0 Stevenage

Curtis Nelson’s handball in the Derby box was deemed as not an offence against Stevenage

Incident: Possible penalty – handball (Stevenage)

Decision: No penalty awarded (Stevenage)

Foy says: “As the corner comes in, both the Derby goalkeeper and No 35 jump for the ball, and the contact comes via the defender’s arm.

“The close-up replay shows that the left arm of the defender is clearly moved and raised in an unnatural position which results in contact with the ball, and a penalty kick should have been given.

“The difficulty for the referee here is that several players, including the goalkeeper, are competing for the ball; however working to the high standards required of match officials, I think this is an offence that should be spotted.”

Fleetwood Town 1-2 Barnsley

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This challenge was waved on by the referee in Fleetwood’s game against Barnsley

Incident: Possible penalty – foul (Fleetwood Town)

Decision: No penalty awarded (Fleetwood Town)

Foy says: “Despite the referee making a dynamic movement across the front of the penalty area in an attempt to create an angle for himself to see any potential contact, I think the referee and his assistant misread this challenge.

“In my opinion, the Fleetwood defender inherits the risk of committing to a sliding challenge and when he does not play the ball and makes contact with Barnsley No 44 the best outcome is a penalty.

“With the assistant referee so close to the action too, the officials between them should have concluded that a Fleetwood penalty was the best course of action.”

Colchester United 1-1 Accrington Stanley

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Accrington Stanley’s Bradley Hills received a second yellow for violent conduct against Colchester

Incident: Possible red card – violent conduct (Accrington Stanley)

Decision: Red card given – violent conduct (Accrington Stanley)

Foy says: “As soon as the Accrington player makes a clear action with his arm to strike the opponent in the head with his elbow, the referee is correct to issue a straight red card for violent conduct.

“At the point of contact, the ball had already gone out of play and the Accrington player appeared focused on the Colchester player running towards him. What follows is a non-footballing action that meets the threshold for violent conduct, and the referee correctly shows a red card.”

Walsall 2-1 Mansfield Town

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Mansfield Town’s Ollie Clarke was shown a yellow card for this challenge against Walsall

Incident: Possible red card for serious foul play (Mansfield Town)

Decision: Yellow card given – reckless challenge (Mansfield Town)

Foy says: “This judgement requires the referee to consider a number of factors in arriving at the most appropriate disciplinary outcome, yellow card or red card. The referee shows good composure before showing a yellow card.

“As the ball is bouncing Mansfield’s No 8 commits to the challenge, and whilst the contact is high and makes contact with the Walsall No 14 just below the knee. The challenge itself lacks the speed and intensity to generate the excessive force that would result in a red card.

“The referee does not rush into a decision and remains calm with the players before showing the yellow card.”

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