Shaun Evans certainly didn’t have a great day with whistle in hand during last night’s clash between Newcastle and Melbourne Victory but his reading of the clash between Andrew Nabbout and Lawrence Thomas was correct.

The home fans were already on the back of Evans for what they saw as a string of unfair decisions against their side and were further incensed five minutes after the break when Nabbout was booked following the 50/50 with the keeper.

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Nabbout has every right to go for the ball when it’s played over the top by Dimitri Petratos but Thomas got to it first and was subsequently injured when Nabbout’s head collided with the keeper’s head rather than the ball.

This incident has similarities to an incident in the English Premier League earlier in the season when Manchester City’s Ederson came out to make a last ditch clearance but was struck in the head by the boot of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane whose only intention, like Nabbout was undoubtedly to go for the ball.

Mane was sent off for the challenge which on first viewing looked harsh but if it had happened anywhere else on the pitch would have been clear cut.

Of course the Nabbout incident differs because it was his head that hit Thomas rather than a raised boot but the lateness of the impact is what makes it a cautionable offence.

Thomas was thankfully only taken to hospital as a precaution after being stretchered off the field but the extent of his injury shouldn’t and didn’t have a bearing on the punishment Nabbout received.

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Not everyone saw the incident the same way however and Jets coach Ernie Merrick was firmly in the camp that believed the yellow card was harsh.

“I could not understand that decision. The ball went in the net after the incident so I was asking why it didn’t go to VAR,” said Merrick.

“There was no intent. I do hope Lawrence Thomas is alright though because he’s a very good goalkeeper.

“But a yellow card for that, give me a break.”

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The yellow card should not serve as a deterrent for an attacker in the same situation as Nabbout to not commit to going for the ball but is a reminder that there is a punishment if the challenge is mistimed no matter the original intent.

It certainly wasn’t a popular decision in front of a hostile crowd but on reflection was ultimately the correct one to make.

 

Featured image credit to Sproule Sports Focus

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Living and studying in Newcastle. Pretty obsessed with football. Newcastle Jets and Chelsea FC fan