Speaking as a pundit on EFL on Quest, former Norwich, West Ham United and England striker Dean Ashton had his say on Swansea’s penalty incident against Middlesbrough.
The game has been marred by controversy given that Middlesbrough looked to have had a perfectly good equaliser ruled out unfairly early in the second-half and Swansea were given a questionable penalty in the 97th minute to win the game.
Two goals from Andre Ayew proved to be the difference on the day, sandwiched either side of Sam Morsy’s first goal for Middlesbrough since arriving in the summer from Wigan Athletic.
Dean Ashton was a guest on EFL on Quest on Saturday evening. He plied his trade in the Championship for Norwich City during the 2005/06 campaign, scoring 10 goals in 28 games. He went on to play for West Ham United and England after his time with the Canaries.
The winning penalty was the topic of discussion on the programme with Ashton stating that he believes the spot-kick should not have been given if referee Gavin Ward wasn’t sure.
“The one on Bidwell by Saville, Bidwell actually kicks through Saville’s foot to the ball and smashes it wide. His leg has come across and Bidwell kicks through his foot to the ball, past his leg, smacks his leg out of the way.
“It’s such a close call, you can’t give decisions like that in such a vital moment of the game.
“He actually gives a corner initially and then changes his mind so maybe he got word in his ear from his assistant.”
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock clarified that when he spoke with referee Ward after the final whistle, the official confirmed that there was no intervention from his assistant whatsoever and he changed his mind of his own accord.
On Sky Sports’ coverage of the game on Saturday afternoon, the pundits were Derby County’s Curtis Davies and former Huddersfield Town manager Danny Cowley, who both disagreed with what Ashton said. They both stated that the penalty was a fair decision.