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Top five worst refereeing decisions

Sports Mole picks out five of the poorest decisions made by British referees and their assistants down the years.

Premier League referees have received their fair share of criticism this weekend. While they have arguably the most difficult job in the game, two match officials in particular hardly covered themselves in glory.

Yesterday afternoon Mike Jones opted to chalk off Newcastle United's goal against Manchester City, although replays showed that Yoan Gouffran was not interfering with play, despite being beyond the last City defender.

Then, later, Anthony Taylor awarded Liverpool a penalty, even though there was minimal contact between Raheem Sterling and Marc Wilson.

They are not alone, though. Here, Sports Mole has selected five of the strangest decisions made by British referees.

1. Poll's three yellow cards
In 2006, the Premier League regarded Graham Poll to be their best match official. He made himself a laughing stock across the globe, though, when he took charge of Croatia's World Cup clash with Australia. He issued two yellow cards to Croatian defender Josip Simunic, but failed to produce a red card. He did later dismiss Simunic, but only after dishing out a third caution.

2. Thomas disallows Zico goal
Welsh referee Clive Thomas had annoyed fans of Ipswich Town, the Netherlands national side and Everton with strange decisions prior to his appearance at the 1978 World Cup. With the score between Brazil and Sweden level at one goal apiece and the match entering stoppage time, Zico headed in a dramatic winner for the South Americans. Or had he? Thomas had actually blown literally a second before Zico made contact with the ball, insisting that time was up, much to the astonishment of the Brazilians.

3. Eustace scores 'ghost goal'
To be fair to referee Stuart Attwell, he was not helped by his assistant Nigel Bannister on this occasion. In a Championship match between Watford and Reading in 2008, the officials deemed that John Eustace had put the ball into his own net, despite a lack of claims from the Reading players. The replays showed just how wrong they were.

4. Dundee United denied goal, penalty
Perhaps one major error can be forgiven, but two in the space of a few seconds? That's difficult to understand. Not only did referee Les Mottram fail to see that Dundee United's Paddy Connolly had scored from close range, but he then also managed to miss the fact that Partick Thistle defender Martin Clark had caught the ball inside the penalty area!

5. McParland escapes red card
Quite what Aston Villa striker Peter McParland was thinking when he flew into Manchester United goalkeeper Ray Wood during the 1957 FA Cup, only he will know. Not only was it a horror challenge, but it also left Wood with a broken neck. Frank Coultas opted against brandishing a red card and McParland went on to score both goals as Villa claimed the trophy thanks to a 2-1 win.

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