Can one of those dodgy decisions please go our way?

A scoreline of Sunderland 3 Aston Villa 1 would have been flattering in the extreme. For a start, we don’t actually score three goals in the same game. And today we played for only the first 15 and last 10 minutes.

Both of the disallowed goals, Stokes’s in the first half and Collins’s in the final seconds, may have been correctly ruled out by Steve Bennett. Stokes was offside so we can probably eliminate my use of the conditional “may”, though either Jones or Wallace should already have buried the ball in the Villa net for a 2-0 lead before his diving header.

As for the “winner”, I have seen it twice, which Bennett had not when he blew for a push. It seemed a good goal to me and to the neutral standing by my side. Repeated playbacks could prove us wrong. And in any case, our players made many more elementary mistakes throughout the game than the referee.

But of one thing I have not the slightest doubt. Say we had scored an improbable equaliser during our even shorter spell of good play at Chelsea and, instead of stupidly conceding a penalty, kept it at 1-1 until the end. And then Lampard or Cole or someone had headed into our net in identical circumstances to our 93rd minute effort today.

Peter Walton – “I see only red card offences committed BY Liam Miller, not against him” – would have awarded the goal. Chelsea would have won. These things do NOT necessarily even themselves out.

In that narrow respect, namely which sorts of club get what kind of decisions, Roy Keane was right to raise questions about the key decisions.

No wonder Martin O’Neill offered the warmest of handshakes to the ref at the end. Despite Villa being better than us for long periods, Collins’s header threatened to leave them staring another defeat in the face after last week’s shocking performance against Portsmouth. Mr Bennett, bless him, got our boyhood supporter out of jail.

Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

4 Responses to “Can one of those dodgy decisions please go our way?” Subscribe

  1. Joan Dawson December 16, 2007 at 11:09 am #

    It was a very harsh decision. I agree that if we’d been one of the top 4 the goal would probably have stood. What was much clearer was Gardner’s terrible kick at Dwight Yorke – definitely a red card. Gardner was relieved not to have been sent off.

  2. Colin Randall December 16, 2007 at 11:42 am #

    Yes, I meant to mention the horrific Gardner incident but got carried away with the other stuff.
    The fact is that any Sunderland player – and probably, for that matter, Villa player – producing a tackle of that nature at Chelsea or Man Utd, however early in a game, would expect to be sent off.

  3. John Penman December 16, 2007 at 7:40 pm #

    The one thing about Mr Bennetts refereeing is that it is consistant……consistantly rubbish.In almost every game he officiates there is some contentious decision which he seems to revel in.He ponces around the pitch like a demented giselle and likes to be the centre of attention at all times.
    He irritated both sets of fans yesterday with some bizarre decisions although the main howlers were reserved for the home team.With regard to the injury time disallowed goal the way I read it was that Carson had come for a ball he was second favourite to get and realising he had made a pigs ear of it (again) ran into Collins to feign some kind of obstruction.If that had been 2 players challenging for a high ball in the centre circle I would have been surprised to see a free kick awarded.
    Sadly the incompetance of a jumped up referee may have a significant bearing on the outcome of our season.

  4. Nathalie December 16, 2007 at 10:58 pm #

    I think having seen the “goal” a few times that it was probably a harsh decision. Coupled with the Gardner “challenge” which in any game is a red card, especially if you look at other recent red cards in the Prem, I too can understand Keane’s frustration with the offical (s).

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