‘Obviously isn’t’ - Former referee delivers verdict on controversial Anthony Gordon incident

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has commented on Newcastle United’s controversial opener at Sheffield United on Sunday.

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Sean Longstaff opened the scoring for Newcastle at Bramall Lane after being set-up by Anthony Gordon. The goal was protested by the Sheffield United players who felt Gordon had handled the ball and it had gone out of play.

A VAR check showed the ball had remained in play but had hit Gordon on the hand. Still, the goal stood following the check due to new rules regarding handball.

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Speaking on Ref Watch on Sky Sports News, Gallager felt the correct decision was made for the goal to stand.

“Bit by bit, the whole of the ball has to be over the whole of the line, it obviously isn’t,” he said. “As [Gordon] brings it back it strikes his hand which ironically keeps it in play, deemed not deliberate.

“He doesn’t score so therefore the new interpretation has to be it has to be a deliberate handball and the referee said no, the VAR said no, so the goal is given.”

Gallagher went on to state that the subjective nature of the handball rule is going to lead to much deliberation over the coming season.

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“Handball is just so, so difficult and I’ve come to the conclusion in week six that you’re going to have to suck it up for another 32 weeks because it’s not going to go away,” he added.

Gordon was also involved in another controversial call shortly after as he was tripped inside the area by Jayden Bogle. Referee Stuart Attwell waved away the appeals and a quick VAR check deemed it was not a penalty.

Ultimately Newcastle couldn’t feel too hard done by the decision as they went on to secure a club record 8-0 away league win at Bramall Lane. The result equalled The Magpies’ biggest ever Premier League win, an 8-0 win over The Blades’ city rivals Sheffield Wednesday at St James’ Park in 1999.

Eddie Howe’s side also became the first in Premier League history to have eight different goalscorers from the same side in a single match. Longstaff, Dan Burn, Sven Botman, Callum Wilson, Gordon, Miguel Almiron, Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak all got on the scoresheet.