Rafa Benitez looked as outraged as the rest of us when the referee and his three helpers decided to collectively forget what happens when a team gets a penalty.

The United boss and his coaching team arguing vehemently their case on the touchline for three or four minutes, until eventually having to concede that the referee is apparently always right, even when he is wrong.

Everybody in the crowd knew that if players run into the box before a penalty is struck, then it has to be retaken.

After the final whistle Rafa Benitez was instead wanting his team, and match winner Matt Ritchie in particular, to get the credit they deserved rather than making the match officials the story of the night.

I think we all know though that there would have been only one thing Rafa would have (rightly) focused on after the game if Burton had held out for the goalless draw that for so long they looked like getting.

The Newcastle Manager says it was a game’we had to win’. If it had been a draw at St James Park, Huddersfield’s win last night would have put them eight points behind Newcastle and only five if they win their game in hand.

Rafa Benitez says that the eight match mini-league that kicked off in April now continues at Sheffield Wednesday and with the first two won, it has been a major step on the way to the Premier League, with victories against two teams fighting for their lives in the bottom six.

Rafa Benitez:

“I think you have all seen the incident…

“You have a lot of experts on TV, radio and newspapers to analyse what has gone on, I was talking to the referee but I don’t want to talk about it.

“For me it was just an important win and one we had to win.

“It was a fantastic goal from Matt Ritchie…a great goal.

“There was workrate, good possession & passing and a lot of other positives, but unfortunately we are talking about the incident…but it is clear for everybody.

“We have a mini-league and we have now won two (Wigan and Burton) already and if we can carry on winning games, it will be easier.

“It is important to enjoy (another three points) and then be ready for the next one.

“We knew that this team was difficult to break down and beat with a line of five at the back and it could have been a free-kick, a counter-attack, all which would be dangerous for us (in potentially conceding a goal), so we needed to make sure there was no mistake.

“We did that until the end and couldn’t relax.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Burton 0

Goals:

Newcastle: Ritchie 68

Possession was Burton 30% Newcastle 70%

Total shots were  Burton 6 Newcastle 22

Shots on target were Burton 2 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Burton 3 Newcastle 4

Referee: Keith Stroud

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Atsu (Ameobi 89), Gayle (Murphy 90+1), Perez

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Gamez, Haidara, Gouffran, Hanley

Crowd: 48,814

(Referees Union issue apology after the game, read it HERE)

(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction HERE)

(Read Nigel Clough’s post-match reaction HERE)



  • Wor Lass

    “You couldn`t make it up” is a popular response to refereeing clangers but in this case it`s absolutely true!

  • TubbyMunky

    How are fans supposed to respect match officials when they don’t seem to know the rules?

    • Bleeding Black & White

      Agreed. Officials in football are, almost, all aloof and put themselves above players, coaches and fans. In other sports they earn respect. It has to work both ways.

  • Bleeding Black & White

    On top of what’s already been said, having now seen footage of it, not having a great view of the incident from the Leazes end, it’s clear that, at least, three Burton players were also encroaching, so it shouldn’t have been disallowed, at all and the penalty should have stood! I’m just pleased we got a result and didn’t lose points, like we did at Forest.

  • Rich Lawson

    Rafa classy as always in his response,most other manager’s would have gone ballistic,he knows there will be enough others kicking the match officials for this ?