When you remember who the referee was during a match, it probably means he had a bad day. That’s quite the understatement when it comes to Lee Mason, doing everything he possibly could by making wrong decision after bad one, as his assistant completely blew an offside decision to disallow a Raheem Sterling goal and himself ignore Luis Suarez being fouled in the penalty area, aiding Manchester City claim a 2-1 win over Liverpool.
It’s not that Manchester City were bad. Liverpool had the better chances during the match, but Manchester City looked like the better side for more minutes. It still doesn’t mean they need a referee to assist them.
No one is saying Mason did this with foul intentions in his heart (although Brendan Rodgers was hinting it in the most blatant way possible), but the bottom line that he and his crew did an awful job of governing the match, taking away one goal from Liverpool when an onside Raheem Sterling by about a meter, something that didn’t need an instant replay to be acknowledged, was somehow called for offside. The guess? The assistant wasn’t focused, and called the play on where the ball was with the player at the time he finally raised his eyes to see. Mason could have negated that call, but decided not to.
The other problem was Mason deciding he wasn’t going to be “fooled” by Luis Suarez, giving Joleon Lescott a free pass to chop him down. Lescott was frustrated for being dooped a time or two by the Uruguayan, so he retaliated with violence, once shoving Suarez on the edge of the box and getting away with it and then pulling Suarez down right in front of the referee inside the penalty box. Mason decided that there’s no reason to deny Manchester City the win.
Instant replays getting involved would have helped, but that doesn’t matter, because FIFA prefer fooling everyone with the goalline technology that is used once in a blue moon. Getting referees who aren’t afraid of making the right calls is more of a local issue, which the FA completely botched by letting Mason referee such an important match.