Former top referee Graham Poll questioned the sending off of Fabricio Coloccini against Sunderland and the FA have agreed.

An FA appeal panel met on Tuesday afternoon and have ruled in favour of Newcastle United, meaning Captain Fabricio Coloccini will now be free to face Stoke on Saturday.

Poll had said that Robert Madley was ‘100% correct’ to give Sunderland a penalty but that a yellow card for the Newcastle Captain would have been fair.

Steve McClaren called both decisions ‘ridiculous’ and instantly said after the match that the club would appeal, ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ in his words.

Graham Poll said that for it to be a sending off, referee Madley must have thought Fletcher would get to the ball before keeper Rob Elliot and so it was a case of denying a goalscoring opportunity.

However, the retired top ref said he wasn’t so sure that Fletcher would have got there first, so a booking would have been fair.

Contact was definitely made between Coloccini and Fletcher so that is simply interpretation of intent and very hard for that to be challenged.

Surely though there was enough doubt as Graham Poll said, for Newcastle not to be punished double for this one alleged offence.

Graham Poll talking to The Mail on Monday:

‘Bobby Madley was 100% correct to award Sunderland their penalty in stoppage time at the end of the first half.

Fabricio Coloccini clearly barged Steven Fletcher as he chased down a through-ball and the penalty was the easy and right decision.

However, just because Coloccini was the last man and committed a foul, it is not automatically a red card.

Madley must have felt that if Fletcher had not been fouled he would have got to the ball before Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal and so was denied a goalscoring opportunity.

I was not so sure and felt the penalty and a yellow card would have been a fairer outcome.’