Wear-Tyne derby – Fletcher was never going to reach ball first, says Newcastle keeper

Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot despairs after being beaten for the third time yesterday
Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot despairs after being beaten for the third time yesterday
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Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot says Fabricio Coloccini’s dismissal left him baffled – as Steven Fletcher was NEVER going to beat him to the ball.

Elliot felt the Sunderland game was turned on its head by referee Robert Madley’s decision to send off Fabricio Coloccini in the 45th minute, and award a penalty, after the Magpies’ captain challenged Fletcher in the box.

Fletcher was chasing a ball which was gathered by Elliot.

And the Newcastle goalkeeper felt Coloccini should not have been sent off – as it was NOT a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Asked about the decision, former Charlton keeper Elliot said: “The ball got played through.

“I was sort of waiting for the ball to get past Colo and Fletcher.

“It went straight through to me. I jumped on it and Fletcher’s gone over.

“The ref’s decided to give a foul – I couldn’t believe it really.

“In my understanding it has to be a clear goalscoring opportunity. I didn’t think it was at all.

“For a decision like that to lead to a sending off and a goal, it doesn’t see fair.”

Adam Johnson converted the resulting penalty and Billy Jones and Fletcher netted after the break to seal Sunderland’s 3-0 success.