Flowers? Hallmark thank you card? Money? Swansea need to be very thankful that Martin Atkinson was the referee in their 1-1 draw against Hull City, saving them from a loss by allowing Chico Flores to score with his hand, and not seeing another handball, this time by Dwight Tiendalli, stopping an Alex Bruce header which should have given the Tigers a penalty kick.
Did Flores mean to score with his arm? Hard to say, but there’s no doubt that he did, and it wasn’t that difficult to see, even without the replays. We keep getting the talk about angles and referees not being able to see everything. Until when will UEFA, FIFA and all those preventing from finally using instant replay or a replay booth in the sport continue to smear us with ridiculous excuses? No harm would have been made if the match would have been stopped for a minute and a TV assistant would have told Atkinson that Flores used his hand, possibly not by mistake, in order to score the equalizing goal for Swansea? None, except the feared undermining of the referee’s influence over the match, which is something we shouldn’t be afraid to reduce a little bit.
It was more surprising to see him miss the Tiendalli handball. As Alex Bruce himself put it: ‘I am disappointed when I see the penalty claim. It is not as if it has hit him from a yard away, it is 10 yards away. The natural reaction is to put your arms by your side. The boy has practically caught it, signed it and thrown it into the crowd.
At least we’ve got the Hawkeye to help us with goalline decisions… What? It’s been used once or twice this entire season? You’re telling me that we have a lot more crucial infrigments that have to do with offside, red cards, penalty kicks and hand balls than goal line decisions? Who knew? Everyone, except for the people running this game and its credibility into the ground.