Soccer Premier League

Norwich City Certainly Didn’t Have the Luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day


Norwich City

Martin Thirkettle-Wikipedia Commons

The first period of the game against Sunderland looked good enough with Norwich City well on top. A frantic first few minutes was followed by a slightly less explosive spell, but the Canaries were able to keep their dominance going. So, when Wes Hoolahan bundled home a Kei Kamara header, things were looking up for a priceless away league win.

Of course, it should be remembered that Norwich have only recorded one Premier League away win all season, so a second would have been very welcomed indeed. The early momentum from the game all seemed to be flowing in the right direction, and an Irishman scoring on St Patrick’s Day seemed to be a very good omen indeed.

But this obviously angered the referee who decided that he wanted to be the star of this show. Therefore, he decided to make the type of decision that completely changes what was shaping up to be a very interesting game of football. Now, there will be those that will say that Mark Bunn shouldn’t have come hurting out of his area with arms all over the place.

However, every goalkeeper in the world knows the risk of handling the ball outside of the area and Bunn would have been well aware of his actions. This is why he did everything in his power to get his arms out of the way when the ball was heading towards him. Of course, the ball did hit him in the chest and elbow area.

The thing to remember is that the rule was invented to prevent goalkeepers charging out of the area and catching the ball. But this is a world apart from what Bunn did and while I agree that it did hit part of his arm, the intent was certainly not there. It was a bit of misjudgement from the goalkeeper and I do not honestly believe that is enough for him to see red.

But as ever, the real issue here is the consistency of decisions. Let’s face facts, it’s extremely rare for a goalkeeper to see red for this. Of course, this is partly because players are very careful to avoid such a scenario. But in the rare occasions that it does occur, in 90 percent of cases the shot stopper stays on the pitch after receiving a yellow card.

I certainly think that in that situation the referee could have given Bunn the benefit of the doubt. However, he couldn’t get that red card out fast enough, we can then only hope that he would want to even things up in our favor later in the game. However, it’s difficult to offer Chris Foy any real defense when he punished Norwich again before the half time whistle.

Again, the punishment on Bassong was extremely harsh given that the first control was clearly with the chest and there was certainly no intent to handball. It should also be noted that Steven Fletcher was in an offside position anyway. Some people may argue that he wasn’t interfering with play, but if that was the case, then Bassong doesn’t need to act. So, at the very least it was another very harsh decision.

The frustration is increased when you look at the one down the other end that was a stone wall penalty, but instead was given as a handball outside of the area. It’s very frustrating, mainly because the referee has changed a perfectly good football match for no other reason, than wanting to make himself a hero.

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