'Devastated' former Newcastle United striker issues statement
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Gateshead-born Carroll opened the scoring with a near-post header early in the second half, and then, aided by a handball, netted with a near-identical goal five minutes later. The 34-year-old – who had two spells at boyhood club Newcastle – was shown a second yellow card, and Carlton Morris equalised for Luton nine minutes from time.
"I’m the first person to accept when I’m wrong,” said Carroll on Instagram. “Tonight, not only have I let myself down but I’ve let my teammates and the fans down with an unintentional handball.
"The first couple of seconds when the ball went in it was just an automatic reaction to celebrate, but I knew it had hit my hand. I’m devastated.”
Reading interim manager Noel Hunt labelled Carroll’s dismissal as “harsh”.
“I’ve seen the incident back, and Andy didn’t mean to handle it,” said Hunt. “If you go for the ball with your head, sometimes you do close your eyes, and blink and lose the flight of the ball. There’s got to be some kind of common sense here.
"It’s just harsh. Where are you supposed to put your hands? Andy said it was accidental, and he’s gutted about it. He’s hurting more than anyone.”
Luton manager Rob Edwards said: “For a minute, I thought that Carroll’s goal had been given. But you could see by our players’ reactions (that it was handball) – and the officials got the right decision.”
Hunt said that Reading, 22nd in the Championship, may consider an appeal against Carroll’s red card.
Back in Toon
Carroll returned to Newcastle as a free agent in the summer of 2019 when Steve Bruce was head coach.
The former England international left the club two years later. Speaking at the time, Bruce said: "He's out of contract.
"I had a conversation with Andy. I think he wants to go and play. I wish the lad all the best. I hope it goes for the rest of his career. He's certainly been a big help to me in the last couple of years, that's for sure.”