'Tough day' for Luton boss who has no idea what the handball rule is anymore

Two penalties given at Kenilworth Road this afternoon
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Luton boss Rob Edwards was left bemused with just what the handball rule is anymore after seeing two penalties awarded during his side’s hugely disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Sheffield United this afternoon.

With the visitors 1-0 ahead, they were then given a spotkick on 36 minutes when Vini Souza’s close range header from a corner struck the outstretched arm of Town defender Reece Burke. Although there weren’t any appeals and the game carried on, referee Chris Kavanagh then halted the play as he was sent to the pitch-side monitor, giving the Blades the chance from 12 yards on second viewing.

It was tucked away by James McAtee, while early after the break, Kavanagh was once again going to the screen after Elijah Adebayo’s header brushed against the slightly raised arm of Souza, who wasn’t even facing the play. Despite that fact, another penalty was awarded, Carlton Morris notching a sixth of the season, but it couldn’t lead to a grandstand comeback, Souza hammering home the visitors’ third to seal the points with 18 minutes to go.

Town boss Rob Edwards has words with the fourth official during this afternoon's 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United - pic: Liam SmithTown boss Rob Edwards has words with the fourth official during this afternoon's 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United - pic: Liam Smith
Town boss Rob Edwards has words with the fourth official during this afternoon's 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United - pic: Liam Smith

Speaking about the incidents, Edwards said: “Neither one were penalties in my opinion. I don't know what a penalty is with handball anymore. Neither player is looking at the ball, both players have got to jump and have their hands up. I don't think either one was a pen, I don’t think ours was a pen and don't think theirs was a pen.

“It’s a little bit strange, but once they had their first one, we appealed for ours because we thought we might be able to get it and we did. They check everything so it's not the ref’s fault. They get told to go and look at them and once they go and look at them, you’ve got a chance of getting them, so it’s not his fault.

“It’s a tough day for us. We made a couple of errors in the end that were really, really costly. It doesn’t matter how much of the ball you have it’s what you do with it that counts in the end and we were punished.”

Town attacker Chiedozie Ogbene was also left mystified, but knew as soon as the official was sent to the side of the pitch, what was about to happen, adding: “It’s not great as when the ref goes to the monitor you start to have doubts really. I didn’t see both occasions, I’ve seen the screen, Burkey’s penalty, I don’t know what the rules are.

"I thought they were quite close as he didn’t have much time to react, but the rules are the rules. When they go to the monitor you start to have doubts and vice versa when they go to the monitor for you, you start to believe that you’re going to get a penalty, but it is what it is.”