Full transcript from Dermot Gallagher's interesting take on Lewis Dunk's disallowed goal for Brighton against West Brom

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has provided his view on Lewis Dunk’s disallowed free-kick during the 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 1:19 pm
Players remonstrate with referee Lee Mason, after a free kick by Brighton's English defender Lewis Dunk which led to a goal, which was then ruled out. (Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In a game steeped in controversy and drama, Dunk’s quick-thinking appeared to catch Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone off guard, however the play was pulled back by referee Lee Mason.

Following a lengthy stoppage and some consultation with VAR, Mason disallowed the goal and ordered for the set-piece to be retaken.

A furious Dunk branded it “embarrassing” as the Seagulls’ advantage over the relegation places was reduced to three points.

Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck both missed penalties as Kyle Bartley’s early opener was enough for the home side to claim all three points.

Gallagher, a former top-flight referee who retired in 2007, provided an in-depth view of the decision-making process on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch.

The full transcript

“The easy answer is, he (Lee Mason) has just lost focus.

"When you give a free-kick and it’s a ceremonial free-kick like that because Brighton originally wanted the wall back 10 yards.

“He has got the ball placed, he’s got the wall back. He’s then got to get into his position.

"For whatever reason, he’s dragged back into the players, Lewis Dunk obviously sees (Sam) Johnstone on the post, thinks ‘I can go quick here’ and asks the referee ‘can I go quick?’

“The referee, I think, has lost a little bit of focus and said ‘yes’. You see, he’s not in the right position for the free-kick himself because he’s just stepping back.

"Lewis Dunk shoots and as soon as he shoots, I think Lee thinks ‘oh, I shouldn’t have allowed this free-kick to be taken’ and blows his whistle again to stop it but the consequence is, the ball goes in the net.

"I say consequence because if that ball had gone wide, we wouldn’t be discussing this now but it did go in the net and because it went in the net, the VAR then can look at it.

"And the VAR, quite rightly said, the whistle had gone a second time before the ball had entered the net, so technically it can’t be a goal.

"What I would like to point out as well because there has been a lot of slightly inaccurate reporting of this is VAR played no part in this process, apart from deciding the second whistle had gone.

"The VAR can’t have any input on the restart. It is sorely an onfield decision.

"Lee Mason, all he did was lose focus and you see how difficult it can be then because he has got players pressuring him and you as you said, it can be a lonely place.

"I think the one good thing that came out of it was, for whatever reason, he decided to go to the benches and explain what he was going to do.

"By going to the bench and coming back, that creates a little bit of time for him. He gave himself time to compose himself and get himself back in the right zone.

"If he had the free-kick retaken (straight away), he would have still been in this slightly out-of-focus range if you like and not really able to control it as he did afterwards.

"It’s just a mistake he made, the mistake being to let the free-kick be taken originally and if that’s the one learning point any referee can take from this is, make sure you are ready before you have any free-kick taken.”