Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Not paying the penalty

Just been watching the highlights of last night's game on the official Fulham website and it seems that the Fulham back line did a good job of holding out, one missed header by Brede Hangeland aside, and had a fair few chances themselves, albeit of the long range variety.
We no longer have Sky so I was getting updated by the BBC Sport website and on the 89th minute when it said 'Fulham have a strong appeal for a penalty...' I was furiously bashing refresh to find out the outcome. Looking at the highlights I would say it is a penalty - not a stonewaller as some like to claim - but Michael Carrick does clip Danny Murphy's ankle.
However also looking at the highlights, you can tell why referee Michael Oliver doesn't give it. Irrespective of it being the 89th minute at Old Trafford, there is a copse of legs making it hard to clearly distinguish the action and the ball clearly moves in the direction that Carrick is kicking, suggesting he took the ball. He didn't and the referee got it wrong, but he got it wrong for the right reasons in my opinion.
While Fulham fans on the whole seem mainly sanguine about the decision, it has enraged fans of other clubs who don't want United to win the league - claiming the Old Trafford bias was in action again, despite the fact there there have been penalties against United at OT this season, some of which should not have been allowed. But the lot of the football fan is selective memory, through conscious or subconscious means, through stereotype reinforcement. City fans (rightly) laugh at United's claim for a first half penalty for handball when Patrice Evra fired a cross that hit an oblivious Stephen Kelly on the arm, but how many care to recall their very similar awarded penalty just two games previously against Chelsea? And Fulham fans won't have forgotten the Adam Johnson 'trick' where he kicked Chris Baird on the way down for another soft City penalty. But it is swings and roundabouts - I can remember Senderos fouling someone in the box at the Cottage and getting away with it. Referees can make mistakes as easily as the defenders making accidental fouls.
Anyway it's all getting a bit tense at the top and while the managers might be able to handle the pressure; it's telling on some of the fans. Just witness how quiet the crowd can be at both the Etihad and Old Trafford until their team scores.

1 comment:

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