Referee Chief Admits Penalty Decision For Imps Was Wrong

Credit Graham Burrell

I’ve just read that Ryan Lowe has been told the penalty decision that went against his side this week was wrong, and I have a comment or two.

City were awarded a penalty when Panutche Camara was adjudged to have fouled Brennan Johnson in the box early in the second half, a decision which resulted in an Imps’ goal and a 1-0 lead. It did look weak, even through my rose-tinted glasses, and I have to say if it were against us, I might have been angered.

I might also have been pragmatic that one just seconds earlier, a stonewall penalty for a tug in the box, was not given and that these things even themselves out. Sadly, Ryan Lowe is not.

“I rang Mike Jones (national group director at PGMOL) and said ‘Have you got five minutes, give us a call back?’ He rang me back to be fair to him. He looked at it there and then and said ‘I have got to assess it with the ref’,” said the former Bury boss.

“He said ‘Ryan, I can categorically tell you it wasn’t a penalty’, which is a bummer.”

Credit Graham Burrell

Yes, it is a bummer, but I wouldn’t imagine the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the body responsible for match officials in English professional football), will be too happy with that conversation being out in the public domain. Personally, I am not either. I don’t think the penalty should have been given, but the first one should and surely if the Plymouth boss is making reference to one, the other should come up too, should it not?

Lowe is also unhappy that a goal kick he felt his side should have had was awarded as a corner, but isn’t that part and parcel of the game? We didn’t score from said corner, so what on earth is the point of bringing it up? I like Ryan Lowe, I like his philosophy and the way his teams approach the game, but I feel this is a little beneath him. Besides, the score wasn’t 1-0 was it, not in the end?

“He had a bad day at the office, for me,” Lowe said of the referee. “Will he come back and be stronger and better for it? Probably yeah. Hopefully, he does, but it cost me a point at Lincoln on Tuesday night.”

No, it didn’t. Here are the match stats – Lincoln 18 shots, 9 on target. Plymouth, 8 shots, 2 on target. Lincoln xG, 2.52. Plymouth xG, 0.45.

Was it really the penalty that cost Plymouth the game, and would the correctly awarded one have been any different? I do find it a shame when managers blame aspects of the game such as this, especially when they are looking at matches through rather one-sided glasses. It is perhaps even more frustrating than when partisan social media accounts start getting all indignant (Charlton, I#m looking at you), without context or balance. For me, a manager should have a little more perspective, rather than blaming the referee for costing his side a point in a game that was dominated by the side the rightfully took all three points.

I would have had far more sympathy for him if he had brushed over this and looked to the Covid situation, which robbed him of three players. That was more of a factor in their defeat than the penalty. I expected better from Lowe.

The issue is that stories like this, and the involvement of the PGMOL, could affect us in the future. We have had five penalties this season as a direct result of getting in the area and attacking teams. If stories like this are noted, it could mean some referees begin to err on the side of not giving us penalties when there is a clear foul, as we have a reputation for it, That’s why I don’t like to see referee’s dirty washing aired in public like this, nor the one-sided report that clearly omits the shout seconds earlier.