#Newcastle-Upon-Tyne has a worldwide reputation as a party city but it's safe to say that #Referee Keith Stroud won't be enjoying a night out in Tyneside for some time after an inexplicable blunder during top-of-the-table Newcastle United's game against Burton Albion.
Stroud caused an uproar in the St. James' Park stadium as Matt Ritchie stepped up to cooly send the Albion 'keeper the wrong way from 12 yards after Dwight Gayle was sent tumbling in the box. But the cheers soon turned to jeers as the referee immediately chalked off the effort and awarded a free-kick to the visitors.
Replays showed that Gayle was inside the box as Ritchie struck - along with around four defenders.
Cacophony of Boos
But instead of awarding a re-take, Stroud stuck to his guns and sparked angry jostling and protests among the incredulous players and coaching staff along with a cacophony of boos echoing among the rafters.The controversial decision also caused a storm on social media as angry and bewildered Newcastle fans took to the internet to vent their anger.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) group, who appoint referees to games, admitted after the game - which Newcastle finally won 1-0 thanks to a superb curling Ritchie effort from outside the box - that Stroud had made a mistake. 'Keith and his team are understandably upset at the lapse in concentration and apologise for the mistake,' the statement ended.But he received little sympathy from the Toon Army, whose paranoia and disbelief at some of the decisions that the club have seen go against them this season, as they battle to get back into the Premier League, was cranked up several notches and led to demands for the blundering official to be sacked..
Comments included such gems as: 'It makes you think what was going through the ref's mind to screw up this badly..he must have had a complete brain fart,' 'Why in God's name did one of the linesmen or the 4th official not put him right? Did all 4 of them not know the rules? I smell a rat,' 'Is this supposed to also account for the other 99% of his inexplicably incorrect decision making? Fixed,' and 'I could reluctantly accept one making a mistake but ALL the officials. I'm still gobsmacked'
The slender victory was enough to take Newcastle back to the top of the Championship but the fall-out from this one could run on for some time yet. #Free Kick