SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Mark Clattenburg criticises referee for denying ex-Liverpool striker ‘Jota penalty’

Referee Anthony Taylor has been accused of inconsistency by Mark Clattenburg after failing to award Nottingham Forest‘s Taiwo Awoniyi a penalty vs. Newcastle.

Forest and Newcastle were level at 2-2 on Saturday when Awoniyi raced through and was brought down by goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

The former Liverpool striker was already under pressure from Sven Botman and seemingly off-balance, but it was a raised arm from Dubravka that brought him down.

There were understandable calls for a penalty for Forest, but Taylor waved it away and VAR Tony Harrington failed to intervene.

Newcastle went on to win the game 3-2, with Bruno Guimaraes scoring four minutes after the incident to seal the three points, but Taylor was criticised afterwards.

Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo described it as “really clear,” having watched the situation “over and over,” putting the blame on Harrington as VAR.

And in his column for the Mail, former Premier League referee Clattenburg compared Awoniyi’s non-penalty with the spot-kick won by Diogo Jota at home to Newcastle on New Year’s Day.

“Just last month, Liverpool were awarded a penalty at Anfield when Diogo Jota was judged to have been tripped by Newcastle‘s Martin Dubravka,” Clattenburg wrote.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 31, 2017: Referee Mark Clattenburg during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Soft though it was, the decision was awarded in real time.

“The referee that day? Anthony Taylor, who did not award Nottingham Forest a penalty when Taiwo Awoniyi was tripped by the same keeper.”

Clattenburg added: “Awoniyi had more of a case than Jota – the raised right arm of Dubravka made it impossible for him to stay on his feet – yet Forest got nothing.

“VAR Tony Harrington cannot escape blame as he did not take the chance to let his colleague correct his error.

“It is no wonder Forest fans are asking why it is one rule for the Premier League‘s biggest clubs and another for them.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Liverpool's Wataru End? is shown a yellow card by referee Anthony Taylor during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There will undoubtedly be skepticism among those at Forest over so-called ‘big club’ bias, though it should be noted that Dubravka himself accepted he fouled Jota for Liverpool’s penalty.

More so, this situation underlines, again, both the thankless task of referees since the introduction of VAR and the inconsistency of officiating in general.

The blame this time could be pinned on VAR, particularly as Nuno suggested Taylor’s view had been impaired as he was stood behind the incident.

But that will be of no comfort to Nuno, Awoniyi and Forest, with the weekend bringing up yet another example of the low standard of refereeing in the Premier League.