Dermot Gallagher reviews controversial decisions in the Premier League after each round of games, on behalf of Sky Sports, and has given his calls on incidents in the Newcastle United v Manchester United game on Sunday.

In total, there were three moments during Newcastle’s deserved win over Jose Mourinho’s, that the former top referee has ruled on.

These were:

Should Dwight Gayle have had a penalty after Chris Smalling’s first-half challenge?

Valencia was booked for a challenge/assault on Christian Atsu but should it have been a red card?

Was the free-kick correctly given against Chris Smalling for a dive, which Newcastle then scored from?

Dermot Gallagher has now given his verdicts on the trio of incidents, saying that the referee on the day, Craig Pawson, got two decisions correct and one wrong.

Newcastle denied penalty


“Chris Smalling treads on the foot of Dwight Gayle on the corner of the box with the score at 0-0. Craig Pawson waves play on.”


“The simple answer is yes (it should have been a penalty).

“He didn’t play the ball, and as I’ve said many times, it’s all about the ball.

“I actually think that because where (referee) Craig (Pawson) is, I believe he may be assessing whether it happened inside the area or not, and because of that he loses sight of whether it is actually a foul.

“He completely forgets, I think.”

Smalling dive


“Smalling was then booked for simulation, going down despite Jonjo Shelvey not having touched him. Newcastle then scored the winner from the resulting free-kick.”


“I think it’s an excellent spot, they’re not easy to give.

“Sometimes when a player goes through the air like a torpedo it’s easy to give, but this wasn’t.

“It’s definitely not a foul, definitely simulation, and it’s a very, very important decision to make too, because Newcastle scored from the free-kick.”

Yellow for Valencia


“Antonio Valencia is booked for a high boot on Christian Atsu, though some believed he should have seen red.”


“I think this is a yellow card and not a red card because Valencia is stood stationary, he hasn’t come at speed at Atsu.

“He hasn’t actually led with his studs either, he’s come with the side of his boot.

“It’s not nice, it’s reckless, but it’s not a red.”

I think I would probably have to agree with Dermot Gallagher on his verdicts.

The easiest one to call is the Chris Smalling dive. TV replays revealing just how embarrassing the dive was, fantastic that the Man U defender was punished so severely – with Newcastle scoring not the yellow card!

The penalty is almost as easy to rule on, even though it would have been harder for the referee/linesman to see, it was definitely a foul and definitely in the box, so a definite spot-kick. A bit bizarre Dermot Gallagher saying that the referee was too busy trying to work out whether it was in the box or not, and so ‘forgot’ to then rule on whether it was even a foul.

It always looks bad when you see a challenge like Valencia’s on Atsu but we can’t have it all ways. If you reckon yesterday should have been a red card then Matt Ritchie should also have got one at Swansea early this season, when there was a bit of controversy that the Newcastle winger didn’t get sent off, as Sadio Mane had just been red carded for Liverpool – though that was more extreme than both Ritchie’s and Valencia’s challenges.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0


Newcastle: Ritchie 65

Possession was Man Utd 64% Newcastle 36%

Total shots were  Man Utd 13 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Man Utd 6 Newcastle 3

Corners were  Man Utd 10 Newcastle 0

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 84), Gayle (Joselu 80), Perez (Hayden 90+4)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Murphy, Merino

Crowd: 52,309 (Man Utd 3,000)

(Alan Shearer gives his reaction to the win HERE)

(Read Jose Mourinho’s reaction to the match HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the victory HERE)

(Match ratings for all Toon players after beating Man Utd HERE)

(Rafa Benitez verdict after beating Manchester United HERE)

(Read Mohamed Diame reaction HERE)

(Read the match report HERE)

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    to many Penalty decisions aren`t going our way, it`s time for the cloob to formally complain to the top man in charge of the refs, it can`t go on like this.

    • GToon

      What’s the stat? 1 for us and 22 for the opposition? Or is that something else?

      • Big geordie

        No that’s mikes sharing of TV money

  • GToon

    If that high foot had come from one of our players at their ground or another big club he would have been off. They would have got the penalty too.

  • Waxi

    If we do get a pen i hope we smash it in as the last pen v Burnley was [email protected] poor.

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      I like Gayle to finish that 1000 times better than I like Joselu

      • nufcslf

        Had to be at least 10 better choices including Darlow. Stupid for him to be allowed to take a vita spot kickl, membies if already a few goals to the good, but never do or die.

  • thewildchimp

    Definitely not a red, by any means. The challenge on Joselu was far more dangerous.

  • Paul Patterson

    Never mind, we got the points.

  • Coach Clagnut

    I thought reckless play that could lead to serious injury was a red card offence. You can’t get more serious than kicking someone in the head. It was a red all day.

  • Wor Lass

    “He completely forgets, I think.” wtf? If it was a foul it was a pen. He didn`t want to give a pen for it so he bottled it.He was in an excellent position to see exactly what happened so bottling is the only explanation. Still, on this occasion at least, we won!

    • nufcslf

      Nice that it didn’t have to matter on the final score, but still pathetic that he didn’t make the call and give the pen. Wasn’t a difficult decision at all.

  • Kneebotherm8

    Don’t even know why they’re getting a second opinion on the simulation incident,it was clear as day…

  • Sing in the Leazes

    Ref wasn’t sure on the red card. He procrastinated while somebody else checked the replay. Made a big show of checking Atsu to see if he was OK but really he was just playing for time.
    Touched his earpiece several times then confidently reached for the yellow card.
    Secret VAR