Keith Hackett has hit back at Ryan Lowe’s claim Sunderland should not have been awarded a penalty in their 3-1 win at Plymouth Argyle.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League referee claimed Ryan Law’s foul on Lynden Gooch started outside of the area but continued into the box and was, therefore, a penalty.

Referee James Bell initially gave a free-kick before changing his decision to a penalty kick after intervention from his assistant.


Speaking after the game, Argyle boss Ryan Lowe told Plymouth Live it was “crazy” that Bell could not overturn his assistant.

Asked for his assessment of the incident, Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “Penalty kick, correct decision.

“Good communication [between the referee and his assistant]. We used to have a signal in the past that’s no longer used because of the communication kits. If it was inside the area the assistant referee would put the flag horizontally across his chest to indicate it was inside. 

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“That was the reason it was brought in. He’s said over the communication kit.

“Ultimately at the end of the day they’ve come to the right decision. The foul starts outside the area but it’s continued to inside the box so it’s a penalty kick.

“It’s a tight call, but it’s inside the penalty kick.

“What the referee will learn here is, you have to sell the decision. He’s not helped himself because he should’ve looked to his assistant and the assistant would have told him it’s inside straight away.

“If you’re going to give a penalty kick, give it, look at the assistant and at that point the assistant comes in and says ‘It’s inside’.

“The action of going through the process, James Bell, it’s put doubt in the manager’s mind but I’m happy it’s a penalty kick and the right decision.”

In other news, Kevin Phillips has dropped huge Sunderland transfer claim.