Gary Neville ‘bemused’ by what happened in Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest

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The former England star has reflected on a surprise decision in the Magpies win at the City Ground.

Gary Neville was left ‘bemused’ by a decision that robbed Elliot Anderson of his first Newcastle United goal in Friday night’s win at Nottingham Forest.

The Magpies youngster was introduced at half-time at the City Ground with his side being held by their hosts after Alexander Isak cancelled out an opener from Forest striker Emmanuel Dennis.

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Anderson looked as if he had notched his first senior goal when he headed home at the far post after making the most of a fine cross from Isak. However, his effort was ruled out after VAR official Peter Bankes instructed on-field referee Paul Tierney to review the decision, citing an apparent offside against Sean Longstaff as his reason for doing so.

After a long wait, Tierney overturned his initial decision to allow the goal, bringing anger from Magpies players and supporters and provoking a frustrated response from Sky Sports pundit Neville.

He said: “There might be a lot more people far more clever than me on the rules of the game that can tell why that’s a deflection and not a deliberate play of the ball. If you look at that criteria, the ball travelled from a distance and the player had a clear view of it, yes he did, the ball was not moving that quickly.

“The direction of the ball was not what was expected, it didn’t deflect, so that one fits the criteria. The defender didn’t have did to coordinate their body movement, he did, he saw it from a distance. From that point of view, my view is that it is not a deflection, it’s a deliberate play of the ball, but there are two officials, the VAR and the one on the pitch, that have disagreed with that.”

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The former England star believes Howe ‘would have been fuming’ if the game had ended in a draw following the decision to rule out Anderson’s goal in a call he described as ‘bizarre’.

“I am for VAR, I think VAR is a positive intervention for the game and I think it gets 90-odd percent correct and we focus on the one that isn’t. I think that one tonight is bizarre and in some ways I am delighted Newcastle won that game because it takes the edge off it for everyone, including the officials. I think if that had been 1-1 Eddie Howe would have been fuming.”

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