Newcastle United coach left ‘baffled’ by referee call in dramatic Sunderland Under-21s draw

Newcastle United Under-21s boss Elliott Dickman was left ‘baffled’ following his side’s dramatic 1-1 draw with Sunderland Under-21s at St James’s Park on Monday night.

The Young Magpies took the lead in the first half thanks to Joe White’s angled strike and looked to have seen the game out with 10-men before Sunderland goalkeeper Alex Bass bundled the ball over the line to equalise in the 94th minute. Newcastle were reduced to 10-men in the second half as Jay Turner-Cooke was shown a second yellow card.

Despite Bass admitting he handled the ball in a post-match interview, Dickman remained reasonably diplomatic when assessing Sunderland’s goal.

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"Looking back on the footage, the keeper wins the header," said the Under-21s boss. “First of all I was disappointed he managed to get a free header albeit they've got extra players in the box because we're down to 10 men.

Newcastle United Under-21s boss Elliott Dickman.

"It hits the post and comes back. I'm not too sure the ball will go in if he doesn't do what he does. It's not clear cut but it does look like he's used his arm.

“I'm a little disappointed the goal has been given but that's how football is sometimes. You get them in your favour and sometimes you don't. In my opinion, from what I've seen, we feel a little hard done by.”

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But a decision that left Dickman ‘baffled’ came in the build-up to Jay Turner-Cooke’s red card in the 79th minute of the game. And once again, it involved Bass and an altercation inside the Sunderland penalty area.

“The main thing is he's got to learn to handle his emotions and he's got to be really disciplined,” Dickman added. “I don't know what Jay did, I haven't seen that, but what I do know, looking onto the pitch, the goalkeeper kicked out at Joe White, who went down and then there was a coming together.

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"My main concern was why is a goalkeeper kicking out at Joe White? The other thing I'm quite baffled at is that the goalkeeper got booked but I don't know why he got booked if the referee gave a free-kick to Sunderland.

"It was a bit strange but from my point of view, Joe White went down, their goalkeeper kicked him and then there was a coming together. I need to look at it properly to see what Jay has done.

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"The big thing for Jay is that his first booking is preventable if he's in the right position. It's understanding that he needs to make sure when we don't have the ball, whatever his recovery sprint is, he's got to make sure he's ready and in the right place to make sure that doesn't happen and he doesn't get booked.”

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Dickman continued: "When you're playing 11 against 10 you're always going to try and have that momentum when you're chasing a goal and I think that's what they did.

"I thought we were fine to a point. There are a few things we could have done a little better, maybe engage the ball a little bit higher and quicker, but I did feel at a point we were going to see the game out and come away with all three points.”