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FAN VIEW: Julian Speroni WASN'T fouled by Craig Dawson - Mark Clattenburg got it spot-on

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MOST Crystal Palace fans are convinced Craig Dawson fouled Julian Speroni on Saturday - but not ALISDAIR KEMP...

VICTOR Anichebe's crucial goal at the start of the second half did more than just ignite West Brom's impressive second half fightback on Saturday. For the second week running, the man in the middle has become the focal point of Eagles fans' frustrations – and for the second week, in my opinion, unfairly.

Most of the criticism centred around his awarding of West Brom's first goal despite an elbow from Craig Dawson on Julian Speroni in the customary 18-yard box set-piece melee, as well as the injury-time penalty rightly given for a foul by Mile Jedinak on Anichebe.

Concerning the Dawson incident, despite my obvious frustrations in the away end at conceding such an untimely and soft goal, I was pleased for football that Mark Clattenburg – whom in my opinion is plainly the best referee in the country at the moment – allowed the goal to stand. It was indeed aggressive and painful-looking but I dispute any sinister intent or even recklessness on Dawson's part.

My vexation at the ridiculous over-protection that goalkeepers receive has been mounting for several seasons. It has reached the point whereby the draught caused by too swift a movement around the apparently fragile and brittle keeper seems to prompt immediate penalisation. Too often fans are deprived of exciting set-pieces and goalmouth scrambles because the referee objects to the players not parting like the Red Sea for the goalkeeper to saunter out and claim the aerial ball.

I am not for a moment implying that Speroni was exaggerating his injury but Clattenburg's allowing of Anichebe's goal will hopefully signal a paradigm shift in the treatment of goalkeepers.

Football is a contact sport, thus incidents like this are inevitable. I do not believe Dawson's intentions were malicious and I defy anyone to take a running leap as he did without raising their arms for balance. Unfortunately Speroni's cranium was in the way of the defender's elevated limbs; that does not, however, make it a foul.

Just as in Formula 1 crashes and scrapes can be deemed purely "racing incidents", whereby the fault is not attributable to any one person, incidents in football – even when injury may occur – should be adjudged to be "footballing incidents", for want of a more gimmicky term. This was one such incident.

Goals create excitement, which is naturally a massive plus for an entertainment sport. Therefore it is to be hoped that Clattenburg has set a precedent here in acknowledging that not every clash or collision involving a goalkeeper is a foul.

We should subsequently see fewer goals being chalked off for arbitrary reasons. Anichebe's goal set up a much more exciting second half than would likely have otherwise been the case and. Despite my disappointment at the result, that is to be heralded as we all go to matches to be entertained.

Every cloud has a silver lining and I believe that football as a whole may benefit from Saturday's controversial incident.

FAN VIEW: Julian Speroni WASN'T fouled by Craig Dawson - Mark Clattenburg got it spot-on


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