Newcastle United coach ‘baffled’ by referee decision during Sunderland U21s derby draw

Newcastle United conceded a controversial last-gasp equaliser to Sunderland in the under-21s Tyne-Wear derby.

Newcastle United under-21s boss Elliott Dickman reflected on a frustrating Tyne-Wear derby draw with Sunderland at St James’ Park. The young Magpies were denied victory via goalkeeper Alex Bass’ controversial stoppage-time equaliser.

Joe White handed Dickman’s side the lead just after the half-hour mark and looked set to hold out with 10 men following Jay Turner-Cooke’s 79th-minute red card, however Bass rose highest from a late corner to bundle the ball home with his arm.

“Looking back at the footage, the ‘keeper wins the header, so first of all I was disappointed he managed to get a free header albeit they’ve got extra players in the box because we’re down to 10 men,” said Dickman. “It hits the post and comes back. I’m not too sure the ball will go in if he doesn’t do what he does. It does look like his arm. It’s not clear cut but it does look like he’s used his arm.

“I’m a little disappointed the goal has been given but that’s how football is sometimes. You get them in your favour and sometimes you don’t. In my opinion, from what I’ve seen, we feel a little hard done by.”

Newcastle United under-21s boss Elliott Dickman.
Newcastle United under-21s boss Elliott Dickman.
Newcastle United under-21s boss Elliott Dickman.

Dickman said he was ‘baffled’ by the Turner-Cooke’s second booking. The first was a cynical foul on Jay Matete in the first half before he got into an altercation with Bass during a melee in the Sunderland penalty area.

“The main thing is he’s got to learn to handle his emotions and he’s got to be really disciplined,” Dickman said. “What I recall of the incident, I don’t know what Jay did, I haven’t seen that, but what I do know, looking onto the pitch, the goalkeeper kicked out at Joe White, who went down and then there was a coming together. My main concern was why is a goalkeeper kicking out at Joe White?

“The other thing I’m quite baffled at is that the goalkeeper got booked but I don’t know why he got booked if the referee gave a free-kick to Sunderland. It was a bit strange but from my point of view, Joe White went down, their goalkeeper kicked him and then there was a coming together. I need to look at it properly to see what Jay has done.

“The big thing for Jay is that his first booking is preventable if he’s in the right position. It’s understanding that he needs to make sure when we don’t have the ball, whatever his recovery sprint is, he’s got to make sure he’s ready and in the right place to make sure that doesn’t happen and he doesn’t get booked.”