Lewis Dunk calls out ’embarrassing, horrendous’ decision by Lee Mason


Lewis Dunk demanded greater transparency from referees after an ‘embarrassing, horrendous’ decision from Lee Mason denied the Brighton captain an equaliser in their 1-0 defeat at West Brom.

Mason, only a fortnight after being demoted to the Championship following two VAR blunders, controversially ruled out Dunk’s first-half equaliser in a chaotic refereeing performance that ended with him limping to the finish line.

The 49-year-old disallowed, allowed and then again disallowed Dunk’s quick free-kick – flip-flopping with the ‘help’ of VAR Simon Hooper in deciding whether Mason had blown his whistle before Dunk’s shot had crossed the line. Mason had allowed the free-kick to be taken while West Brom were setting up their wall, before realising his error and blowing again.

Lewis Dunk called Lee Mason's refereeing decision 'embarrassing' and 'horrendous'

Lewis Dunk called Lee Mason’s refereeing decision ’embarrassing’ and ‘horrendous’

Lewis Dunk's quick free-kick was disallowed, then awarded and then disallowed again

Lewis Dunk’s quick free-kick was disallowed, then awarded and then disallowed again

‘It’s embarrassing,’ said Dunk. ‘I know what he said. I said, “Can I take it?”, he said , “Yes”, I took it and scored. Just because he got so much pressure from the bench and the players, he disallows the goal. VAR doesn’t know what he said (to me). It’s a horrendous decision.

‘Why doesn’t he come and speak to the press, like me? Why doesn’t he come and say his point? Never. They hide behind their bubble and it’s fine.

‘I don’t think he knew what he was doing. Why did he give the goal? Because he knew he said go. I don’t know how VAR’s getting involved, because he’s said the word. You can look on the video.

And when asked if Mason had lost control, Dunk replied: ‘Yeah, he did. Fact.’

Mason explained to both managers afterwards that his second whistle had been before the shot went in but Dunk’s demand for clarity was shut down.

Despite being confronted and insulted by the Brighton players, Mason did not book anybody

Despite being confronted and insulted by the Brighton players, Mason did not book anybody

‘I tried to speak to him at half-time and he wouldn’t speak to me,’ said Dunk. ‘So we still don’t know.

‘All I was told was that I could take the free-kick, I took it, scored and he’s changed his mind.’

Mason also awarded two penalties – the first on the command of Hooper, the second his own call and both ending with a Brighton player striking the woodwork from the spot. The referee’s misery was compounded in the final five minutes as he suffered an apparent leg injury.

Kyle Bartley opened the scoring for the hosts before Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck missed from the spot, sandwiched around Dunk’s disallowed effort. It leaves Brighton four points clear of the drop zone but having played a game more than 18th-placed Fulham.

Seagulls boss Graham Potter echoed his captain’s calls for more clarity on why the whistle was blown as the ball crossed the line, as his side slipped to a second defeat in a week.

Mason was surrounded by players from both sides with players confused by the chaos

Mason was surrounded by players from both sides with players confused by the chaos

‘I can see where (Dunk) is coming from,’ said Potter. ‘I’m still not clear as to what the second whistle was for and then I also ask why he was OK to blow the whistle in the first place to allow the quick one. It’s frustrating.

‘VAR is here to make the right decision in the end but at the moment I’d like a little bit more understanding of the process of the two whistles.

‘We’ve had a really painful week, the Crystal Palace game and this game. We’ve had a painful one. When it’s not going your way you have to deal with it. It wasn’t so long we were winning away at Anfield and everybody’s feeling really good about themselves. We’ll keep going and we’ll keep fighting.’

West Brom manager Sam Allardyce, who secured his first home win as Baggies boss, sympathised with Dunk but queried why he was allowed to take the free-kick quickly in the first place.

‘If I were (Dunk) I’d be disappointed if you thought you’d scored, but I’m disappointed in the first penalty,’ he said. ‘We have to show our disagreement if we’re bitterly disappointed, because if we don’t none of us will get better at what we do.

Sam Allardyce sympathised with Dunk and queried why he was allowed to take it quickly

Sam Allardyce sympathised with Dunk and queried why he was allowed to take it quickly 

‘I didn’t know a quick free-kick was allowed anymore, I’ve never seen one for three years. I’ve not seen anybody ask the referee to take a quick free-kick and go and score. I’m glad that this one wasn’t allowed and we got a 1-0 victory.

‘There was a huge slice of luck in our favour, I’m glad to say. You always need a bit of luck in life to succeed, it came at the right time for us with Brighton missing two penalties today. It’s a little bit of luck but we’ll take anything we can get at the moment.’

But Allardyce also defended Mason, claiming referees’ jobs were made difficult by the number of recent rule changes, which he warned could cause chaos when spectators are allowed back into grounds.

‘We had a lot of trouble keeping our cool,’ said Allardyce. ‘I can only imagine if there were fans what it would turn the atmosphere into. Personally I just feel the referee has far too many rules and regulations to even remember. I think that causes confusion because there’s been far too many changes as the season’s gone on.

‘The natural way to referee a game is with a clear mind, and I don’t think the referees are allowed to have a clear mind to referee how they feel, with their personality and experience they’ve got.’ 



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