Date: 31st December 2008 at 12:11am
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Ashley Young has joined Martin O’Neill in praising the actions of referee Steve Bennett in tonights match against Hull City.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, our match winning winger said:

‘I didn’t touch it with my hand, you can clearly see it was going over.

‘The referee deserves a lot of credit. I was just seeing it out and we got our reward at the end of the day.

‘It’s clear, I think, that it’s hit the bar and gone over. The referee has given the penalty then changed his mind and he deserves credit for that.’

It’s not often thesedays you will see a referee change their mind, so often their word is final even if it’s mind blowing obvious to the rest of the world they are wrong.

Steve Bennett doesn’t often come out with praise from me. Normally I hold him in the same contempt as Uriah Rennie, Mark Halsey and other unmentionable so called professional referees but tonight credit where it’s due.

Well actually, not that unmentionable considering I just named them, but you get the idea hopefully.

Watching the replay it wouldn’t be unfair to say Ashley should learn not to put his arm up in future because at speed it’s easy to see why Bennett thought it did strike his hand when it bounced off the bar. On a nice slow mo it’s as clear as mud that no contact was made, but referee’s for some stupid FA/Premiership nonsensical regulation don’t have the advantage of slow mo’s yet.

So credit where it’s due, listening to the advice of his assistant and maybe even having doubts over the strength of forceful nature of the players protests he overturned his original decision. We aren’t known as a team who hound referee’s so seeing everyone surround him must have had some effect as it’s just not something our players do often.

Seeing it, I thought oh Christ here we go, yellow cards for dissent for the lot of them but Steve redeemed himself tonight.

Maybe their is such a thing as Christmas Spirit.