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Fergie moans about spot-kick "travesty"

The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to be flirting with a Premier League fine after criticising match officials. Fergie, never averse to a spot of post-match recrimination, was incensed by the penalty that referee Mike Jones awarded to Newcastle at Old Trafford. The resulting goal meant that Manchester United could only draw 1-1, dropping two vital points as they attempted to maintain the pressure on Manchester City at the top of the table.

Ferguson was irate because the referee had allowed his initial decision to be changed by his assistant. "The penalty decision was an absolute travesty," Ferguson said. "The referee saw the incident and gave a corner. I don't think anyone in the ground apart from the assistant thought it was a penalty, but he then let the linesman overrule him. The problem is that assistant referees are not full time, even if referees are. I could not understand the decision at all."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was understandably cheerier. He acknowledged that the penalty decision may have been a mistake, but didn’t feel that the referee favoured his side. Manchester United also had a late goal ruled out for offside, although the linesman could not be faulted for this decision.

Ferguson, as has become customary, made it clear that he will remember the official in question. "It is not for me to decide whether the assistant referee gets another game again, but it was an absolutely shocking decision," he said. The Premier League may not take that kind of remark too kindly.

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