Friday evening’s derby clash between West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa at The Hawthorns created one headline in particular – did Jay Rodriguez use his hand when he hit a late stoppage time leveller in the tie.
The visitors opened the scoring with a massively deflected effort from Anwar El Ghazi but Dwight Gayle had us back on level terms just prior to the half-hour mark in the game. El Ghazi completed his brace with an effort I have to applaud as 60 minutes neared and in a lively affair, Rodriguez popped up in the 91st minute to salvage a reasonably deserved point from the day.
It did undoubtedly get a helping hand on the way though.
Speaking to the BBC as he met with the media for his post-game interviews, head coach Darren Moore held his own hands up and admitted that Rodriguez hadn’t hidden the fact it hit his hand before going in, but it wasn’t deliberate and in his mind very much a case of ball to hand rather than handball.
“Jay Rodriguez just threw himself at the cross. He admits that it did hit his arm but he didn’t know much about it. And you’ve got to admire his honesty. I was cheesed off with a decision or two that didn’t go our way against Brentford on Monday night and I can understand Dean Smith will be unhappy, but to score as late as that in a game is like a win. I’m delighted with the way we kept going and got something from the game. The way Gareth Barry drove us on and showed his leadership was a credit to him.”
We’ve all seen them given in the game with the benefit of the doubt and intent is often key, but equally, we’ve all seen them disallowed in the game as well.
As I type I haven’t had the benefit of additional replays, but the initial replay I saw it could’ve gone either way. We should be happy it went ours, others won’t and we can undoubtedly point to decisions this season that wrongly went against us.
Take them as they come, as they always say it balances out.