It Was Not A Penalty
Well, we didn`t half roll over like a sick dog, albeit after 42 minutes of containing Newcastle.
I`m still divided on whether or not to blame the entire team for the second half collapse, or the referee for not spotting the dive by Lovenkrands.
At first sight it looked like a dive. After reviewing it on video countless times it still looks like a dive.
The fact that there was no contact between Steele and Lovenkrands is undisputed. Lovenkrands came out later and admitted that. He is still adamant however, that the referee got the decision right, because Steele "broke his stride."
I`m sorry, but I`ve watched it over and over and although if it had been our penalty I wouldn`t care, I feel I have to express my opinion on the matter. It is a terrible dive. Luke Steele was nowhere near him and Lovenkrands threw himself to the ground.
Whether the referee thought there was contact or not, it was never a penalty. The referee, according to Mark Robins has cited the F.A. Rule: "A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player trips or attempts to trip an opponent." So, having established that Steele did not have any physical contact with Lovenkrands (confirmed post-match by Lovenkrands himself) we are left with the assumption that Steele "attempted" to trip him. This is also nonsense. Steele has definitely not attempted to trip him up and neither has he broke his stride. Lovenkrands was looking for the penalty. How can someone running towards you and breaking your stride be against the rules?
Don`t get me wrong, I`m not saying that the penalty meant that we lost the game, or it meant that we lost heavily because it didn`t. Nobody knows what would have happened if it hadn`t been given, or if Steele hadn`t been sent off. I`m saying that the decision in itself, to give the penalty was wrong and so was the subsequent decision to dismiss Steele.