Mon 29 Apr 2024, 14:00 · Ash Harrison

'Within his rights': Former PL ref has his say on penalty decisions from Newcastle's win over Sheffield United

'Within his rights': Former PL ref has his say on penalty decisions from Newcastle's win over Sheffield United
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St James' Park saw one penalty given and one overturned by VAR on Saturday as Newcastle United beat Sheffield United 5-1.

The home side were the beneficiaries of a VAR-aided penalty award in the second half after Anthony Gordon was adjudged to have been tripped in the box, although there was a brief cause for concern as the replays showed that the initial contact was made outside of the box.

VAR rightly stuck with the on-field decision to award the penalty and Alexander Isak kept his 100% record of scoring from the spot firing beyond Wes Foderingham to make it 3-1 to Newcastle.

Late on in the second half, Sheffield United were awarded a penalty when referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot after youngster Alex Murphy, a late second-half substitute, felled Jayden Bogle in the area.

Getty Images
Alexander Isak calmly slots home another penalty

We were nervous about the Gordon one at the time

It didn't take long for VAR to spot that Murphy had actually played the ball before getting his legs tangled with the Blades forward. A quick check on the pitch-side monitor was all it took for Harrington to reverse his decision.

On Sky Sports News' Ref Watch segment on Monday (h/t Shields Gazette), former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher briefly covered both incidents and backed the decisions made on the day. Speaking about the Gordon penalty which was given, Gallagher noted that were two points of contact on the winger.

“There is actually two trips [on Gordon]. He catches him there [outside the box] and then again and it’s the second one that is on the line or in the area so he’s well within his rights to give a penalty. I listened to the VAR, they said there was two trips, one inside and one outside so as he’s given a penalty, they go with the second one.”

Gallagher called the Murphy call a "good use of VAR" - That's new!

Then moving on to the Alex Murphy incident, Gallagher said it was clear that Murphy played the ball first.

“It is [good use of VAR]. If you look, he definitely gets the ball, there is no doubt he gets the ball and then the player goes down over his leg. It was decided that he did get the ball, he played the ball, and so there’s no foul. Quite rightly.”

It's very rare that we get to praise the officials for a job well done, so golf claps all around for this one; two good decisions made by VAR and well enforced by the referee.