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Dermot Gallagher’s explanation for referee Lee Mason’s Brighton blunder

Dermot Gallagher gave a surreal explanation for the bizarre decision by referee Lee Mason which was slammed as ‘horrendous’ by Brighton defender Lewis Dunk.

Dunk was furious after he was controversially denied an equaliser in his side’s 1-0 Premier League defeat to West Brom.

After conceding an early goal, the Seagulls won a free-kick just outside the box, and Dunk asked Mason if he could take it quickly.

Mason appeared to indicate for Dunk to go ahead by blowing his whistle.

However, he blew it again just before Dunk’s effort hit the back of the net, disallowing the goal.

Brighton players argue with Lee Mason after being denied a goal in bizarre circumstances

Then after he changed his mind and allowed the goal to stand, the decision went to VAR, and eventually it was definitively ruled out amid farcical scenes.

It later became apparent that, after initially blowing for the free-kick to be taken, Mason realised West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone was not ready, leading him to blow a second time.

Discussing the incident on Match of the Day, presenter Gary Lineker said: “In 40 years of football, I’ve never seen that happen.”

And former Premier League referee Gallagher gave his view of the blunder on Sky Sports, saying he believed Mason had momentarily allowed his concentration to drift.

Dermot Gallagher said Mason was ‘not quite in that zone of making accurate decisions’

“I’ve been in situations in games many years ago where I’ve lost focus for a little while,” said Gallagher, who retired from refereeing in 2007.

“I think that’s the key thing. I think Lee’s lost focus here.

“He’s tried to regain his focus – he’s just a little bit of concentration and he’s not quite in that zone of making accurate decisions.

“He should never have had the free-kick taken in the first place, but having done that, he’s then got to follow the process through.

Dunk fired home his free-kick – but Mason had blown his whistle before it went in

“I think he’s quickly realised, he’s blown a second time quite rightly to stop that, to say I want to control it.

“The ball’s entered the net, and at that point the VAR has said to him that the ball has not entered the net before the whistle has gone, so therefore the goal doesn’t stand.”

Speaking to Sky Sports at full-time Dunk was visibly livid, and could not conceal his anger with Mason’s conduct.

“It’s embarrassing,” he raged. “It’s a horrendous decision.”

Mason will be on fourth official duty when Liverpool face Sheffield United on Sunday.

West Brom are nine points adrift of safety following the win, which was their first in seven Premier League games.

For Brighton it was a second consecutive defeat, and they are left just four points clear of the relegation zone.




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