Ref Review with Mark Halsey: Lukaku decision ‘astounding’, Mignolet should have walked, but more praise for Jon Moss after Manchester United match

It was another big week of refereeing decisions in the Premier League with a bumper round of action including a full set of midweek games.

Penalties helped two of the top four, whilst Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku appeared lucky to escape a ban for kicking out at Brighton’s Gaetan Bong on Saturday. During the week, there was more controversy but luckily,’s Mark Halsey is back once again to go over the decisions…

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Neil Swarbrick (Manchester United vs Brighton & Hove Albion)

I am absolutely amazed the three ex-referees have not deemed Lukaku’s kick out as violent conduct. It’s not just once he’s kicked out, it’s twice. I’m astounded, this opens floodgates now for players to do that and the FA can’t charge them.

Jose and Manchester United will have been expecting a charge of violent conduct and Lukaku missing for three games, so they’ll be very pleased. On the incident itself, the assistant referee has to see that. Neil has turned around and gone away with play, so it’s up to the assistant to see that incident. He’s got nothing else to look at but those two players and in my opinion, he’s most probably bottled it.

Law 12 states that kicking or attempting to kick an opponent is punishable by a red card, so how they can look at that and not agree it’s a red card has left me bewildered, that’s how strong I feel about it.

They now can’t charge other players who do that, how can they?

Chris Kavanagh (Newcastle United vs Watford)

It’s good to see Chris get a game, we’ve got to get these new referees games and experience and it was good to see him out again at the weekend.

He’s got another game this weekend, getting these young referees ready and getting them games is important. There’s a lack of progression, I can’t believe we haven’t got a referee going to the World Cup next year, there’s a lack of progression planning.

Stuart Attwell (Swansea City vs Bournemouth)

Nobody would have complained had Stuart given the Swansea goal. There’s nothing in it, two players are going for the ball and Ayew is just much stronger. But, Stuart’s disallowed it and I don’t think anyone would have had any complaints if he’d given it.

Then you’ve got the flailing arm which went unpunished. Was it reckless use or violent conduct? I don’t think it was violent conduct, but he’s caught him and I think the Bournemouth player was very lucky. I know Paul Clement was disappointed with Stuart’s performance, but one of his players was very lucky.

How Ki has stayed on the pitch is beyond me. We saw retrospective action taken on Troy Deeney a few weeks ago for violent conduct despite being cautioned, so why are we not seeing it here for Ki pushing the referee? The FA just seem to be making it up as they go along, they’re so inconsistent.

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Mike Jones (Tottenham Hotspur vs West Brom)

West Brom time waste quite a lot. I watched them a few times last season live and that’s their game and they are very good at it.

I used to get on time wasting straight away and speak to the goalkeeper or tell the captain I’d be issuing a caution, you have to manage these things. All teams do it when they’re trying to hold on for a result, but referees need to be strong on this because it’s happening more and more.

Ben Foster should have been cautioned for kicking the ball away from the ball boy, but he wasn’t cautioned until much later on. If you don’t, players begin to take advantage of you.

Michael Oliver (Liverpool vs Chelsea)

I think Michael refereed the game well, he let it breathe and only got involved when he had to get involved.

There were a couple of penalty shouts which I think he got spot on, it was entertaining and Michael only getting involved when he needed to helped that. But credit to the players as well because they were very well behaved.

Lee Mason (Burnley vs Arsenal)

I’ve been critical of Lee’s decision making in the past, but I think he’s got the penalty right. Tarkowski has both hands on Ramsey’s back, yes he’s exaggerated it a little bit, but it would be a free-kick outside the box so it’s a penalty inside the box.

But I made the point on the radio about what’s the difference between Ramsey exaggerating contact and Niasse exaggerating contact last week? It’s a flawed law, nobody is complaining because everybody agrees it’s a penalty, but there’s not a lot of difference.

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Craig Pawson (Huddersfield Town vs Manchester City)

I don’t know what’s going on with Craig at the moment because he’s very inconsistent. There were instances on Sunday where’s he’s cautioned players for a deliberate block and let others off. Scott Malone gets cautioned but Kevin De Bruyne gets away with one, it’s just very inconsistent.

He looks indecisive at the moment and how on earth he hasn’t seen the goalkeeper bring Sterling down for a penalty, it’s the clearest penalty you’d want presented to you as a referee. I thought the second one was a penalty, but the first one was easier to spot than the second one. Perhaps that was on his mind and he’s realised he’s missed the first one so jumped at the chance to give the second one.

We’ve spoke several times this season about players losing trust for officials and that happened again at the end of the game, that led to the fracas at the end. You have to get in there, communicate with them and be in control at all times. Craig wasn’t aware of what was going on around him, you have to be aware of which players are at it and have a word with them.

If you do that you get the respect of the players, if you don’t then they’ll always take it into their own hands.


Jon Moss (Watford vs Manchester United)

Jon had another very good game and I’m really pleased for him. I’ve given him plenty of constructive criticism in the past, but he’s getting consistency in his performances now and he’s refereeing extremely well.

He got the big decisions bang on and that’s all you can ask from a referee. He seems to be more relaxed, he’s smiling more and that helps so much with the players throughout a game. The players are now respecting him because of his attitude and his performances.

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Neil Swarbrick (Chelsea vs Swansea City)

I think Conte was arguing over a corner, but whatever it was he was correct and Neil was wrong. But, that doesn’t give Conte the right to go and shout at the official as he did. And quite rightly Neil has sent him to the stands.

The officials were absolutely spot on to put him in the stands, he’s got a responsibility to behave better than that to people watching around the world.

Anthony Taylor (Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur)

It’s very difficult to tell if it’s a penalty on Rose at the end, but watching it live I thought it was. But then on replay it looks like he’s stubbed the floor, if there’s any doubt there as a referee then you don’t give it.

That was a tough call and I think you’d have to go with Anthony on that decision.

Michael Oliver (Everton vs West Ham United)

I thought Michael had an outstanding game. The first penalty was a tough, tough call but I think he got it absolutely spot on. Robbie Savage said Hart got his fingertips to the ball, but he absolutely wipes him out.

He stops Calvert-Lewin getting onto the ball and sticking it into the back of the net. There’s no difference between that and an outfield player winning the ball but taking the player down with his trailing leg.

I thought he was spot on with the West Ham penalty as well, he managed the game and managed the players excellently and the players respected his decision making. He did well to jump out of the way of Wayne Rooney’s goal too!

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Martin Atkinson (Stoke City vs Liverpool)

Martin has made a big, big error and it’s unusual for Martin, but Mignolet should have been sent off for denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

For the goal, it’s very hard to tell if the ball was out. Remember, the whole of the ball has got to be clearly over the line and there’s a big doubt about that, so you have to say the referee has got that right.


You can follow Mark on Twitter at @RefereeHalsey

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