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Behind the Whistle: A look back at some of the weekend's key decisions

31 January 2023

It was another action-packed EFL schedule at the weekend and on-hand to go through a selection of key match decisions from the action in the Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two is former EFL and Premier League referee Chris Foy.

Although many decisions made on the field of play are of a subjective nature, ‘Behind the Whistle’ will give supporters of EFL clubs an insight into the decision-making considerations and also clarification of certain decisions to provide an understanding of how the Laws of the Game are interpreted.

A regular feature on following the conclusion of a matchday, Foy will be here to run you through some refereeing matters in the EFL.

Sky Bet Championship

Hull City 3-0 Queens Park Rangers

Incident: Potential offside for Hull City’s third goal

Decision: Goal awarded (Hull City)

This is one of those decisions where the second last defender and attacker crossover at pace following a long ball from the attacking side, which makes it a really challenging judgement for the assistant referee.

However, I think the decision is absolutely spot on. It’s an excellent real-time call by the assistant referee, as watching live from the stands the impression is that there’s a possible offside. The concentration and accurate judgement results in the correct outcome of a goal scored by Hull City.

Hull v QPR - Goal Awarded.png

Sky Bet League One

MK Dons 0-2 Exeter City

Incident: Penalty appeal (Exeter City)

Decision: Penalty awarded

Whilst the MK Dons defender does make contact with the ball via the follow-through, a foul on the attacker has already taken place, which I believe is enough to warrant the awarding of a penalty.

This is a subjective decision as it’s not cut and dry, but I think this is a better outcome.

Peterborough United 2-1 Portsmouth

Incident: Potential offside (Portsmouth)

Decision: Offside given and goal disallowed (Portsmouth)

It’s important to say that the attacker subject to a potential offside decision is not the recipient of the ball, and in fact it is the Portsmouth attacker who collides with a Peterborough defender.

This is a good example of when an offside offence is penalised even though the attacker in an offside position does not touch/play the ball. Having been in an offside position when the ball was played by a team-mate, the attacker clearly impacts the ability of the Peterborough defender to play the ball, and the offside was correctly given for interfering with an opponent.

Peterborough v Portsmouth - Offisde goal.png

Morecambe 5-1 Bristol Rovers

Incident: Potential red card (Morecambe)

Decision: Yellow card given

I think there are two parts to this – the potential dismissal for serious foul play, and then the possibility of a second caution being given later on in the game.

The first tackle, in which the Morecambe player receives a yellow card, is reckless, but not worthy of a dismissal for serious foul play given the low point of contact and the relative control of the tackle so the correct outcome in my opinion.

However, I would say that later in the contest a challenge by the same player probably should have resulted in a second caution being given and therefore the dismissal of the Morecambe player. 

Sky Bet League Two

Hartlepool United 1-2 Colchester United

Incident: Potential goal for Colchester United (Ball crossing the line)

Decision: Goal awarded (Colchester United)

This is a good decision by the match officials at an important time of the fixture. Without Goal Line Technology in place, these decisions can be a very complex but having looked at the various replays, the whole of the ball does go over the line.

Hartlepool United v Colchester United - Goal Given.png

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