Keith Hackett insists the official was right to not award Bristol Rovers a penalty in their 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on Saturday.
An Aiden O’Brien goal sealed the points for the Black Cats, but Gas boss Joey Barton was furious that his side were denied a late spot-kick after an incident between Luke O’Nein and Brandon Hanlan.
The former Newcastle man suggested there may be an ‘agenda’ against his team, but Hackett, who was an ex-Premier League official, told Football Insider that Ollie Yates made the right decision late on at the Memorial Ground.
“I think the referee’s got that one spot on. He’s gone in to head the ball, the number nine is looking for the contact. There’s no way that’s a penalty kick.
“The referee’s got it spot on. The point I would make is the referee was in a great position, he was positive in his decision and signal. It’s a good piece of refereeing.”
The victory continued Sunderland’s fine form in recent weeks, with Lee Johnson’s side now three points behind leaders Hull City in the race for automatic promotion.
Meanwhile, Barton’s outfit are second from bottom after suffering four straight defeats.
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Firstly, you can understand why Barton was frustrated, because his team did well and he was speaking after the game when his emotions would’ve been running high.
In hindsight, as Hackett has pointed out, it’s not a penalty, as O’Nien gets contact on the ball and doesn’t foul the striker. So, it was the right call, and the referee will be pleased that he got the big decision right.
Attention for both clubs will quickly turn to the busy period they have coming up, with games that will be pivotal as Sunderland look to win promotion and Bristol Rovers look to survive.
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