All the whinging, whining and downright moaning by Leeds United fans is going to achieve zilch when it comes to the penalty decision made by Jeremy Simpson on Saturday.
Decision made. Penalty awarded. Maupay scores. 1-0 Brentford. That’s pretty much the whole sequences of events. That’s what the headline figures are. The rest is ephemera, an inconsequential arrangement of nothingness and tat.
In a way it is easy to be too hard on Jeremy Simpson. He was behind play so much that the ‘fall’ of Ollie Watkins would have convinced most officials that Bailey Peacock-Farrell had taken him down in the box. In reality it was a fait accompli, Watkins had already decided what he was going to.
Here’s the incident that gave @BrentfordFC the chance to take the lead…
Was the referee right to award a penalty?
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Watkins’ feet were planted, he’d already leant over so far that if he’d been a TrueType font on Microsoft Word then he’d have been classed as ‘Italic’. Let’s get one thing straight, Watkins didn’t ‘play for’ the penalty, his actions were darker than that.
Let’s not beat about the bush, Ollie Watkins was over before there was even the slightest contact from Peacock-Farrell. No, the Brentford forward didn’t ‘play for’ the penalty. He cheated for it – plain and simple cheated.
Now you can couch it in whatever fineries and fancies of language that you like. You can grab any thesaurus and couch it in honey-dripped synonym that you like. It doesn’t change the underlying matter that, under the rules of the game – that wasn’t a penalty.
The beleaguered Simpson has at least got one man holding his coat and backing him up – former Premier League whistler Dermot Gallagher. Gallagher, speaking on Sky Sports News’ Ref Watch, and quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post, said: “I’m with the referee. Every referee will give a penalty like that.”
In fairness, I’ll give Gallagher that one. Jeremy Simpson was that far behind the incident that he might as well have been Grandpa Simpson.
However, it’s Gallagher’s further defence of the decision that grates the grits. He went on to say: “You see the player go in and somebody said to me ‘he’s already going down’ but in that situation, the goalkeeper’s come out legs first, he’s come flying out and he’s run the risk.”
Let me put that another way, clarify something. Gallagher saying “he’s [Peacock-Farrell] come flying out and he’s run the risk.” So what this former 15-year veteran of Premier League officiating has said is that it’s OK to go down before contact if a goalkeeper comes rushing out as the hasty stopper is taking a risk.
Surely that’s not how the letter of FA Law 14 reads when it says “a direct free kick offence inside their penalty area.” Surely no contact = no offence, doesn’t it?
Put another way, is one former match official saying it is acceptable to feign contact to win a penalty?
Put more brutally, is it acceptable to cheat and win a penalty? Seems it might be.