SHOTS & GIGGLES: Refereeing gaffs are no joke, but gulf of quality is

Newcastles Paul Dummett is sent off by referee Steve Martin.
Newcastles Paul Dummett is sent off by referee Steve Martin.

Cheaper by the dozen, Planes, trains & automobiles, Parenthood, The Man with two brains.

That’s just a few leading roles from the one well known Steve Martin, but it was another man who became the most famous Steve Martin on Tyneside.

The spotlight shone brightly on his every move for all the wrong reasons on Friday night.

For every season spent in the Premier League, there was always a reason to complain about the officiating of certain games.

However, since the drop down to the second tier of English football, the gulf in talent and key decision making in refereeing is astonishing.

Obviously, the ‘elite’ officials belong in the top flight, and maybe now we should appreciate their actions and accept just how superior they are to the amateurs in the Championship.

Now let’s focus on Steve Martin’s big chance to shine and gain that promotion to the top flight.

Two red cards, two penalties, two denied penalty appeals and a disallowed goal.

Not one of these seven individual moments went in Newcastle’s favour – it felt as if we were destined to lose the game long before the players had even stepped onto the field of play.

Jonjo Shelvey was the first to see red in more than one way.

That red card has been coming for weeks now, Shelvey has that ‘aggression’ and I certainly wouldn’t change that.

I have no doubts about his red card, the intent was there, although his kick out was a feeble attempt to retaliate against Henri Lansbury’s school-yard antics.

Jonjo is an experienced professional and he should know better than to give the officials a reason to dismiss him.

Having said that, it was still not a penalty. It’s either a free-kick to Newcastle for the initial kick by Lansbury or a drop ball – something else the referee got wrong.

Next up, the disallowed Ciaran Clark goal. Nothing wrong whatsoever and the officials should hang their heads in shame.

The second dismissal of the evening, just like the previous, was pathetic.

Once again, Lansbury took centre stage when throwing himself to the ground moments before Paul Dummett makes any form of contact. What is the left back supposed to do? Levitate? Rant over!

United should take a lot of pride from that performance with just nine men on the pitch.

Let’s use this as a springboard to push on. We go again.