Sunderland should have been awarded a penalty in the closing stages of the second half of their play-off final second leg against Lincoln City, according to Keith Hackett.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League referee slammed Lincoln goalkeeper Alex Palmer for his positioning during the incident.

Sunderland striker Ross Stewart was played in behind the Imps defence by Aiden McGeady in the 40th minute with the scores level on aggregate.

Stewart was brought down by Palmer on the edge of his penalty area but calls for a penalty were waved away by Michael Salisbury.

A spot-kick would have given the Black Cats a chance to go ahead in the tie for the first time.

Speaking after the game, manager Lee Johnson told BBC Sport his side should have had a penalty and it would have changed the whole course of the game.

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Asked for his assessment of the incident, Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “The goalkeeper knows exactly what he’s done.

“He thinks ‘I’m going to stop that player. I’m vulnerable.’ That’s why he’s gone right to the corner of his penalty area.

“There’s no threat to goal in that position. Given what we’ve seen, that’s a penalty. What is the goalkeeper doing there?

“He’s fouled him. It’s a careless challenge by the goalkeeper.”

Lincoln went onto score in the second half to secure their place in the play-off final despite losing 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland will now spend a fourth consecutive season in League One.

In other news, Kevin Phillips predicts a top Sunderland star to be offered new deal after a  £19,000-a-week report.