Outstanding honesty in the beautiful game

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I have refereed football games for more than 20 years, I rarely get a situation that throws me but recently I was given a real curve ball.

The Gateshead Sunday League Premier Division game Westwood FC V Wrekenton Stormont Main FC was a tough game to keep a lid on. Stormont only had 10 players, however, the young guy up front for Westwood needs a special mention.

The score was 0-0 mid way through the first half.

He was in on goal and was forced to turn away under pressure from the Stormont defender and goal keeper. He went down and from my angle was a nailed on penalty.

The player came over and said he tripped on the turf and no contact was made.

I was pointing to the spot.

Do I caution him for diving came to mind instantly – but he neither dived or claimed a foul? Do I ignore him and give the penalty?

I had, clearly, got it wrong and had to admit it.

To penalise the Stormont would not be fair.

I had to use the unwritten common sense rule that is not in the laws of the game.

A free kick (should have been a dropped ball but I was in shock) awarded to the defending team.

I am not sure what the young guy’s name was, however, he got a rollicking at half-time.

I shook his hand before the second half kicked off.

Outstanding honesty and a credit to the spirit of fair play

Take a bow son.

Mike McDowell