Behind the Whistle: League Two decisions analysed

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Behind the Whistle: League Two decisions analysed

In Behind the Whistle, former Premier League referee Chris Foy goes through a selection of key match decisions from the latest Sky Bet League Two action.

Behind the Whistle aims to give supporters of EFL clubs an insight into the decision-making considerations and also clarification of certain calls to provide an understanding of how the laws of the game are interpreted.

As part of a regular feature on Sky Sports following the conclusion of a matchday, Foy will be here to run you through some refereeing matters in the EFL…   

Sky Bet League Two

Barrow 1-0 Newport County

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Should Newport County have received a red card for this incident against Barrow?

Incident: Possible red card (Newport County)

Decision: Yellow card awarded (Newport County)

Foy says: “As the challenge comes in from the Newport County No. 2, the referee needs to weigh up several factors in deciding whether it meets the threshold of a red card for serious foul play or not.

“Firstly, the player lunges into the challenge with an extended straight leg. He is also off the ground and by being so, lacks control over the challenge.

“Fortunately, the Barrow player evades the brunt of the force from the challenge, and this is arguably what saves the Newport player from being sent off.

“However, with the foot raised and a challenge made with excessive force that endangers the safety of the opponent, this falls under the criteria of serious foul play and the correct decision would’ve been to award a straight red card.”

Harrogate Town 3-0 Bradford City

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Should Harrogate Town deserve to be awarded a penalty for this handball against Bradford?

Incident: Possible penalty – handball (Harrogate Town)

Decision: Penalty awarded (Harrogate Town)

Foy says: “This is one of the more unusual handball incidents that you’ll see but the referee gets it absolutely right in awarding a spot-kick.

“The Harrogate No. 19 makes his way into the area and attempts to take the ball past the Bradford City No. 2 but is stopped in his tracks by what appears to be an arm.

“The key here is that, usually, an arm between the body and the ground is there because it is supporting a player who is falling to the ground. However, in this case, Bradford’s No. 2 appears to lean towards the ball, making his body bigger and preventing the ball being passed him.

“The use of the arm prevents the Harrogate player from continuing his movement towards goal and the referee correctly points to the spot.”

Notts County 1-2 Salford City

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Should Salford have been given a second caution for this challenge against Notts County?

Incident: Possible second caution (Salford City)

Decision: No second caution (Salford City)

Foy says: “For me, this is a clip which highlights composed and clear-thinking from the referee as Salford City’s No. 9, who has previously been shown a yellow card, is not considered to have committed a second bookable offence.

“He clearly moves to close down the goalkeeper and as the ball is cleared down the pitch, the Notts County No. 1 falls to the ground.

“The natural reaction is to assume that the Salford City No. 9 catches him as the clearance is made but, as you can see, it is in fact the goalkeeper who catches the Salford man on the follow-through.

“What follows is a good demonstration of patience, as the referee does not rush into a decision and weighs up all the factors. After consultation with his assistant, they come to the conclusion that this isn’t a second bookable offence which is indeed correct.”

Stockport County 5-0 Milton Keynes Dons

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Should this goal have counted for Stockport County against MK Dons despite the possible offside?

Incident: Possible offside (Stockport County)

Decision: Goal given – no offside (Stockport County)

Foy says: “The decision to keep the flag down here in the build-up to Stockport’s first goal was one of several in the game that the assistant referee got spot on.

“On original viewing, Stockport’s No. 8 looks as if he may be offside as the ball is played through.

“However, the camera angle from alongside the assistant referee shows that he is being played on by the MK Dons player on the far-left touchline.

“Supposing that the players in question were on the other side of the pitch, this was an excellent decision from the assistant referee.”

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