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Should Manchester City penalty have been awarded? Or were Newcastle hard done by?

While one couldn’t have much sympathy with Rob Styles when he incorrectly awarded a penalty in favour of Manchester United against Bolton a few weeks ago, it was slightly different on Monday night when the same referee pointed to the spot at St James’ Park. Is this newspaper (no prizes for guessing which one) being a bit harsh on the arbiter this time?

While The Sun might sell a few more copies on Tyneside with their back page headline of ‘Boob Ref Rob Is At It Again’, others might point to the fact that it was a difficult decision to make, especially without the benefit of several replays. While it was clear that the Newcastle players were incensed by the decision, accompanied by the dismissal of Habib Beye, there is no doubt that the defender took Robinho’s legs away from him at the same time. At least Joe Kinnear has convinced Styles to look at the challenge again.

Toon boss Kinnear said: “I went in to chat with him and he will let me know his views in five days. From what I have seen, I hope it will get overturned.

“I didn’t get the impression he thought he made a mistake but he said he will look at it.”

Styles was 20 yards away when the incident happened.

Kinnear added: “We all make mistakes. I don’t want to lose Beye. I want it sorted by the weekend game with Sunderland.”

As Mark Hughes stated after the match, these things even themselves out during the course of a game (or even a season), with Newcastle benefitting from the freakiest of freak goals to take the lead in the second half. Why are people so quick to pan a referee, who has to make the call as he sees it, especially when it’s not as black and white as a Magpies shirt?

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