Danny Higginbotham has put forward a possible reason for one of the worst refereeing decisions ever made.
The Sky Sports pundit was covering the Huddersfield match whilst the Newcastle v Burton one was also being played but said that he got a chance to look at the footage.
When he saw the Keith Stroud penalty incident, Danny Higginbotham says ‘we had no idea (what Stroud was doing’.
The only thing that he could think of for the referee giving the free-kick was that Matt Ritchie must have kicked the ball twice when taking the spot-kick.
However, when he realised just how big a blunder Stroud had made, he says it is the ‘sort of thing that should never happen’. Describing it not as a ‘mistake’ but applying a rule that doesn’t even exist.
As for how such a basic/elementary mistake could be made, the Sky Sports pundit has a theory.
Only on Saturday, Keith Stroud was in charge at the Reading v Leeds match. Liam Cooper clearly stamping on Reading defender Reece Oxford’s head but nothing given by the referee.
Only hours before taking charge of the Newcastle v Burton match, Keith Stroud (and everybody else) discovered that the FA had imposed a six match ban on Liam Cooper. The authorities having to deal with the situation in retrospect after Stroud had failed to see it/deal with it on the day of the match.
Danny Higginbotham believes that this big mistake from only four days earlier may have been playing on Keith Stroud’s mind and the pressure has led to him making an even worse decision at the Newcastle match.
Danny Higginbotham speaking to the EFL Weekly Podcast:
“Honestly. this sort of thing (penalty fiasco at Newcastle v Burton) should never happen.
“We were actually doing the Huddersfield (v Norwich) game at the time and we were able to have a quick look at it and we had no idea (what was happening with referee Keith Stroud and his decisions).
“The problem is that I see with it, is referees will make mistakes but this is not a mistake, it is actually a law (giving a free-kick for encroachment on a penalty) that doesn’t really exist.
“I’m initially looking at it and thinking there has been a free-kick given to Burton because maybe Ritchie has kicked the ball twice. That’s the only thing I could think of.
“Now even I know that a penalty should be retaken and it is a mistaken that shouldn’t happen. It’s not even a mistake in my mind, it’s just a law that doesn’t really exist.
“You try to look after the referees and you try to stick up for the referees, because they have got a difficult job, but it’s very difficult to back him (Keith Stroud) in that situation.”
”Leeds defender Liam Cooper has been banned for six matches for stamping on Reading’s Reece Oxford’s head. Same referee as at Newcastle on Wednesday, Keith Stroud, he didn’t spot the offence at the time, is six games (ban) fair?’
“It is one of those. We were in the studio at the time doing the (Reading v Leeds on Saturday 1 April) game. We looked at it and it is one of those where nothing was given at the time, f it had been red carded then I don’t think there would have been any complaints.
“When you look at the referee, Keith Stroud, you just wonder if after those six games (ban) have been given, is that on his mind going into the Newcastle (v Burton) game and was he a little bit fearful?
“That, hang on a second, I’ve missed something that is that obvious to people on the outside that he (Liam Cooper) has been given a six game ban.
“I just wonder if nerves played a big part in the situation and decision he made at Newcastle yesterday, because he was under pressure.”