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Matt Ritchie voices his disgust with referee Keith Stroud.
Matt Ritchie voices his disgust with referee Keith Stroud.

Mayhem at St James' Park as referee rules out Newcastle penalty and no one seems to know why

Keith Stroud hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the home fans.
Apr 5th 2017, 9:15 PM 13,939 5

REFEREE KEITH STROUD has infuriated Newcastle United fans tonight over his decision to disallow a first-half Matt Ritchie penalty.

Rafael Benitez’s side returned to the top of the Championship table with a 1-0 win against Burton Albion on a tense night at St James’ Park. But it was a first-half incident that will remain the big talking point from this contest.

The home side looked to have taken the lead on 32 minutes when Ritchie converted from the spot, only for Shroud to disallow the goal and award a free-kick to Burton Albion.

Replays indicated that Dwight Gayle encroached in the box before the kick was taken but rather than award a re-take, Shroud deemed it a free-kick offence.

Shroud’s decision led to almost five minutes of confusion and protests from the Magpies, while their fans turned the ground into a cauldron of boos.

The game limped into a 0-0 draw at the interval, giving Benitez an opportunity to calm things down and plot a vital victory for Newcastle.

Ritchie then finally got his name on the scoresheet on 67 minutes as Benitez’s side held on for three precious points in their push for a Premier League return.

Daryl Murphy was introduced from the bench as a 90th-minute substitute for Gayle while goalkeeper Rob Elliot was once again kept in reserve. Ireland centre-half Ciaran Clark missed out with his ongoing knee issue.

Limerick man Damian McCrory was an unused substitute for Nigel Clough’s visitors.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Huddersfield kept their slim hopes of claiming automatic promotion alive with a 3-0 victory against Norwich.

Victory for the Terriers brings them back to within nine points of second-placed Brighton, and 10 of Newcastle, with a game in hand.

Ireland playmaker Wes Hoolahan once again missed out with a thigh injury.

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