Revealed: Why Martin Atkinson failed to award Sheffield United a penalty in 1-0 defeat at Fulham
Billy Sharp, the Sheffield United captain, has revealed referee Martin Atkinson’s reasoning for not awarding the Blades what looked a certain penalty at Fulham on Saturday evening.
United were 1-0 down at Craven Cottage when right-back Jayden Bogle, fresh from coming off the bench, was clattered by Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
The French World Cup winner was fortunate to get away with the challenge, as replays showed him smash into Bogle’s leg after coming out to block the defender’s shot.
Referee Atkinson waved away United’s vociferous appeals and that decision was backed up by VAR after a check.
Intriguingly, Atkinson was the VAR at Brighton earlier in the season when John Lundstram was sent off for a “reckless” challenge. Like Areola here, Lundstram got a touch on the ball before catching Joel Veltman with his follow-through.
Chris Wilder, the United boss, was left fuming that the penalty wasn’t given, and was delighted that Bogle avoided serious injury in the challenge.
And, speaking after the game, Sharp said: “You heard a big clatter, but I couldn’t quite tell.
“Jayden said he got the first touch but then Martin, the referee, said that the ‘keeper then made a save and that’s when the collision happened.
“We got a penalty against them last time but it wasn’t to be, and it’s a disappointing and frustrating night.”
According to the rules of the game, the fact that Areola got a touch of the ball is irrelevant if he used “excessive force”, which is defined as “when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent [and] must be sent off.”