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Behind the Whistle: League One and League Two decisions analysed

In Behind the Whistle, former Premier League referee Chris Foy goes through a selection of key match decisions from the latest Sky Bet League One and League Two action.

Behind the Whistle aims to give supporters of EFL clubs an insight into the decision-making considerations and also clarification of certain calls to provide an understanding of how the laws of the game are interpreted.

As part of a regular feature on Sky Sports following the conclusion of a matchday, Foy will be here to run you through some refereeing matters in the EFL…   

Bolton 5-0 Oxford

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Highlights from Bolton’s 5-0 home win over Oxford United in League One on Tuesday night

Incident: Possible offside (Bolton Wanderers)

Decision: Goal awarded (Bolton Wanderers)

Foy says: “This is a really good decision to award the goal as there are numerous factors at play in deciding whether or not it is offside.

“As the shot comes in, it takes a deflection off Oxford #22 and then possibly off Bolton Wanderers’ #28 which wrong-foots the goalkeeper.

“Between the referee and his assistant, they need to clarify which players the ball makes contact with after the shot and if Bolton Wanderers #28 was in an offside position.

“The referee is in a good position to see the deflection off the defender, whilst the assistant referee perfectly judges Bolton Wanderers #28 to be in an onside position, as Oxford #22 was playing him onside when the shot was struck, thereby making any subsequent deflection off the attacker irrelevant.”

Walsall 1-1 Barrow

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Highlights of the 1-1 draw between Walsall and Barrow in League Two on Tuesday

Incident: Possible advantage (Barrow)

Decision: Penalty awarded – no advantage (Barrow)

Foy says: “The referee shows good recognition of a foul on Barrow #20, and so a penalty kick would usually be the immediate outcome. However, where there is a very clear advantage, it is possible for the referee to play an advantage for the attacking team.

“Immediately following Barrow #20 being clearly fouled, the referee delays his whistle momentarily as Barrow #8 moves towards the ball. However, on then seeing another defender close by, the referee blows the whistle and points to the spot to penalise the original foul, feeling the award of a penalty kick is a better option for the attacking team than allowing play to continue through a possible advantage.

“Within a split second however, Barrow proceed to find the back of the net, but as the referee had already blown for the penalty he cannot award the goal.

“Ideally, the referee could have delayed an extra second or two to see whether a goal resulted, although it isn’t certain that Barrow would have scored as the Walsall players reacted to the whistle and stopped.”

Swindon Town 1-2 Accrington Stanley

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Highlights of Accrington’s 2-1 win at Swindon in League Two on Tuesday

Incident: Possible penalty (Accrington Stanley)

Decision: Penalty awarded- foul (Accrington Stanley)

Foy says: “In my view, this is a clip which highlights the importance of the referee reading the developing phase of play and moving to create a very good viewing angle and credible proximity, to make a crucial penalty area judgement.

“As the attack develops down the left-hand side, the referee anticipates the developing phase of play and positions himself well to the left before taking a step back to ensure that another player entering the picture does not obstruct his view.

“Because of this, he is able to make a very good judgement that Swindon #20 does not get a touch on the ball and makes contact with Accrington #7, resulting in the consequence of tripping. He therefore makes a positive on-field decision to correctly point to the spot.”

AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Gillingham

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Highlights of AFC Wimbledon’s 2-0 home win over Gillingham on Tuesday

Incident: Possible second caution (Gillingham)

Decision: Red card awarded – second caution (Gillingham)

Foy says: “Whilst already on a caution, Gillingham’s #4 takes a significant risk by clearly holding the shirt of AFC Wimbledon #38. This clearly impacts his ability to progress with a promising attack.

“As the grab was sufficiently sustained and impactful, the referee awards a free kick and correctly concludes that a promising attack has been stopped and therefore shows a second yellow card and dismisses the Gillingham player.”

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