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Behind the Whistle: Millwall correctly awarded penalty vs Southampton

In Behind the Whistle, former Premier League referee Chris Foy goes through a selection of key match decisions from the latest Sky Bet Championship, 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…   

Southampton 1-2 Millwall

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Millwall were awarded a penalty for this incident during their game against Southampton in the Championship

Incident: Potential penalty – handball (Millwall)

Decision: Penalty awarded (Millwall)

Foy says: “As the Millwall No 21 turns and takes a shot towards goal, Southampton No 35 makes an attempt to block the ball, which results in the ball striking his arm, and the referee points to the spot.

“The replays show that the left arm is clearly moved and raised, making the defender’s body bigger, and with his arm in an unnatural position, there is no hesitation to award the penalty. The referee is in a very good position to see the incident and makes the correct decision to award Millwall a penalty.”

Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Bristol City

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Di’Shon Bernard was sent off during Sheffield Wednesday’s fixture against Bristol City in the Championship

Incident: Possible second caution/red card (Sheffield Wednesday)

Decision: Second caution/red card awarded (Sheffield Wednesday)

Foy says: “The Bristol City No 15 is recklessly challenged by Sheffield Wednesday No 17, with the ball breaking to another attacking player.

“The referee plays a good advantage but the next time the No 17 becomes involved – when he’s seen heading the ball while challenging his opponent – is the moment the referee should have stopped play and sent him from the field of play for a second caution.

“The laws of the game state that ‘the referee must send off the player when the ball is next out of play, but if the player plays the ball or challenges/ interferes with an opponent, the referee will stop play and restart with an indirect free kick, unless the player committed a more serious offence’.

“Following a further period of time elapsing, the referee – in conjunction with the officiating team – does ultimately show the second caution with the final outcome being correct, however this should have been shown at an earlier time.”

Blackpool 4-1 Bolton Wanderers

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Bolton Wanderers’ Ricardo Santos receives a red card during his side’s League One game against Blackpool

Incident: Potential penalty and red card – DOGSO (Blackpool)

Decision: Penalty awarded and red card shown (Blackpool)

Foy says: “There are two aspects to this decision, the awarding of a penalty and then the subsequent decision to dismiss the Bolton defender for a denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity (DOGSO).

“I think from the replay we can clearly see that the Bolton player makes contact on the Blackpool striker, going through him in his attempt to win the ball. This is a clear foul which brings the Blackpool player down.

“The correct call was made to award the penalty, however, given it was a genuine attempt to challenge for the ball from the Bolton No 5 inside the penalty area, the expected outcome is a yellow card.”

Reading 2-3 Shrewsbury Town

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Sam Smith scored this goal for Reading during their League One encounter with Shrewsbury Town

Incident: Goal scored – possible offside (Reading)

Decision: Goal awarded (Reading)

Foy says: “This is an excellent call from the assistant referee, who correctly keeps their flag down and allows the play to continue.

“As the ball is played through, the Shrewsbury back four try to maintain their line in an attempt to play the Reading attacking player offside. However, Shrewsbury Town No 5 on the far side is slightly deeper and plays the attacking player onside.

“The assistant does very well considering the defender playing him onside is on the far side of the pitch, so the correct decision was made and a goal was awarded.”

Forest Green Rovers 1-0 Tranmere Rovers

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Forest Green Rovers’ Ryan Inniss receives a second yellow card during their League Two fixture against Tranmere Rovers

Incident: Possible second yellow card (Forest Green Rovers)

Decision: Second yellow card (Forest Green Rovers)

Foy says: “Forest Green’s No 6 is late to the ball and when diving into a tackle whilst already on a yellow card, you run the risk of mistiming it and being dismissed for a second yellow.

“The referee does well to recognise that the challenge is reckless and shows good clarity of thought and composure to arrive at the correct outcome of a second yellow card.”

Sutton United 1-1 Colchester United

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Sutton United are awarded a penalty during their League Two game against Colchester United

Incident: Potential penalty – handball (Sutton United)

Decision: Penalty awarded (Sutton United)

Foy says: “Similar to the penalty awarded in the Southampton vs Millwall game for handball, this is a correct decision to point to the spot.

“Following the shot towards goal, the right arm of Colchester United’s No 22 is clearly extended away from the body, making his body bigger. The important thing for the referee here is to be in a good position to see the movement of the arm and contact with the ball and, in my opinion, he positions himself perfectly.

“He has a clear view of the action, sees that the ball strikes the arm that has been moved away from the body and correctly points to the spot.”

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