EFL pundit delivers verdict on two big decisions by referee Gavin Ward after Middlesbrough's defeat at Swansea City

EFL pundit Dean Ashton says Middlesbrough had every right to feel aggrieved after two big decisions went against them during a 2-1 defeat at Swansea.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 12:13 pm

Boro boss Neil Warnock let his feelings known after the match when he criticised referee Gavin Ward and the officiating team.

After falling behind to Andre Ayew’s first-half opener, Boro thought they had equalised when Marc Bola’s strike was ruled out and Yannick Bolasie was penalised.

The Teessiders then thought they had salvaged a point in stoppage-time when Sam Morsy scored his first goal for the club, yet there was still time for a late twist.

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With almost the last kick of the game, George Saville was adjudged to have fouled Swansea’s Jake Bidwell in the box, before Ayew converted a late penalty.

When assessing the incident on the EFL’s highlights show on Quest, Ashton said: “This one on Bidwell by Saville, Bidwell actually kicks through Saville’s foot to the ball and smashes it wide.

“His leg has come across and Bidwell kicks through his foot to the ball, past his leg, smacks his leg out of the way.

“It’s such a close call. You can’t give decisions like that at such a vital moment of the game, and also he originally gave a corner so he’s been helped out by his assistant.”

Referee Gavin Ward points to the spot as he awards a penalty to Swansea City.

When discussing Bolasie’s tackle on Jay Fulton, which caused Bola’s strike to be disallowed, Ashton added: “Bolasie does brilliantly to stretch his foot out and get a touch on the ball. Jay Fulton throws himself to the floor which is clearly why the decision is given.

“Bolasie makes the perfect tackle, leg underneath him, one leg stretched out pokes it away and it’s a brilliant strike by Bola.”

“I can see why they are so distraught and Neil Warnock as well but what I don’t like to see is this real crowding of the referee, I just don’t like to see that.”

Boro will now have a week to prepare for a home game with Stoke but have slipped seven points adrift of the Championship play-off places with 11 games to go.

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