Gary Neville pokes fun at BT Sport’s expert referee after explaining controversial VAR decision

Gary Neville aimed a jibe at veteran BT Sport referee Peter Walton after he declared a complex VAR decision following Newcastle’s 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on Friday night.

Elliot Anderson, 20, headed home what would have been his first senior goal for the Magpies, but the goal was ticked off after Sean Longstaff was flagged for offside in the lead up.

It came after a lengthy VAR stoppage which some say led to a wrong call when Forest’s Felipe touched the ball before Longstaff picked it up in an offside position.

The call was based on the touch being a distraction rather than a genuine attempt to play the ball, which Neville described as “bizarre” on Sky Sports.

“We need Peter Walton!” The expert joked after explaining the decision, before adding: “Peter, where are you!”

Elliot Anderson had ticked off what would have been his first goal at Newcastle from VAR
Sean Longstaff was controversially offside in advance

Like many fans and ex-Newcastle players, Neville was unconvinced by the VAR decision.

He explained: “Longstaff is offside and the ball is played across but it’s played across by a Nottingham Forest defender Felipe so I don’t think that’s offside.

“It’s a brilliant goal, Anderson’s header is absolutely wonderful but the verdict here is Felipe didn’t play that ball on purpose, he deflected it.

“I don’t understand that at all. For me he definitely played the ball. I’ve been there many times as a defender where I’ve been trying to work it out and it hasn’t quite gone where I wanted it to.

“I am a little confused. There could be far smarter people than me who can explain why this is a distraction and not an intentional play of the ball. ‘

The former Man United then went through the wording of the offside law before offering a defense of the technology.

“I’m for VAR,” he said, “I think VAR is 90% right, we always focus on who isn’t, but tonight is bizarre.

The decision depended on whether Nottingham Forest’s Felipe intended to play the ball, which ended up at Longstaff
Gary Neville called the decision on Sky Sports “bizarre”.
He joked they needed BT Sport’s experienced referee Peter Walton
Newcastle eventually won the game 2-1 thanks to a brace from Alexander Isak

“In a way I’m glad Newcastle won because it takes the edge off for everyone, including the officials. If that had been 1-1, Eddie Howe would have been absolutely furious.

The Magpies boss appeared confused by the decision, telling Sky Sports: “I couldn’t believe it at the time, I had to sit down and have the rules explained to me, it was a disappointment for Elliot.”

Despite the controversy, Newcastle still took three points from the game thanks to an injury time penalty from Alexander Isak.

The result leaves Howe’s side just a point behind Tottenham with a game in hand as they head into the international break.

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