Ex-ref delivers shock verdict on controversial Newcastle United calls slammed by Alan Shearer

Newcastle United defeated Brentford on Saturday with a Callum Wilson penalty separating the two sides at St James’ Park.

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Newcastle United’s win over Brentford on Saturday was slightly overshadowed by three controversial decisions made by Craig Pawson during the clash. First, Callum Wilson had a goal ruled-out after seemingly fouling goalkeeper Mark Flekken ahead of stabbing the ball home, before the Magpies were awarded two controversial penalties, the second of which was overturned after a VAR decision.

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has sympathised with Pawson and the VAR officials, believing that they made the correct decision in all of the game-changing moments. Gallagher, speaking on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch, was asked his opinion on the game-winning penalty that was given after Pawson judged that Flekken had fouled Anthony Gordon. Despite Bees boss Thomas Frank saying after the game that he believed the referee and his assistants were wrong to award a penalty, Gallagher believes that it was a tight call - one that could have gone either way. Gallagher said: “The referee did not think so. 

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“It is very interesting as it took so long to give it that it was obvious the assistant had given it.

“You can see from the assistant’s angle that he thought the goalkeeper had put his leg in and Gordon goes over it. It all depends on whether he thinks the goalkeeper has got him.

“He does not get the ball, that is the only certainty. I think if you split referees, some will give it and some will not.”

Surprisingly, Gallagher also believed that the decision to rule-out Wilson’s opener was the correct call. Even though video replays seem to show there was minimal contact between the United striker and the goalkeeper, Gallagher revealed his belief that Pawson made the right decision to rule-out the goal. 

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“I thought the goalkeeper flapped at the ball,” Gallagher said, “but Callum Wilson actually blocks his arm. It was a good spot.”

Post-match, Alan Shearer slammed the decision to rule-out Wilson’s goal, describing it as a ‘weak call’ from the referee. Newcastle, meanwhile, travel to Italy to begin their Champions League campaign against AC Milan at the San Siro before facing Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday.