West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone calls for ban on ‘hop, skip and jump’ penalties

Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone believes players should not be allowed to ‘hop, skip and jump’ before taking a penalty, after Bruno Fernandes used the technique in Manchester United’s controversial win over Albion.

West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone
West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone

The clash at Old Trafford has raised more questions about the standard of decision making and officiating in the Premier League – with a number of huge calls going against Slaven Bilic’s side.

The first saw Conor Gallagher fouled in the box by Fernandes, with referee David Coote correctly awarding a penalty. But the official then changed his mind after being called to double check the decision on his pitch-side monitor.

United were awarded a penalty of their own when Juan Mata’s cross hit the arm of Darnell Furlong.

There was no intent from the defender and Coote also missed that Gallagher had again been fouled in the build-up.

Fernandes took the resultant spot-kick and saw the effort saved by Johnstone.

But the keeper was judged to have strayed from his line and it was retaken.

Fernandes then opted to change tactics and deployed his hop, skip and jump technique and did score at the second attempt.

But despite Johnstone again straying from his line and two Manchester United players encroaching, this time the goal stood.

That led to Adam Sells, managing director of Sells Goalkeeper Products, to tweet about the penalty change he’d like to see administered in the Premier League.

“Moving off the line early yesterday, saw @samjohnstone50 denied a great penalty save,” he wrote on social media.

“For many years I have held the view that the keeper should be allowed to move anywhere in the six-yard box from a spot-kick. Harder to score? More realistic? Easy to administer?”

Johnstone then quoted the tweet with his own suggestion to penalise opponents for adopting a staggered run-up to the ball:

“And a striker shouldn’t be able to hop, skip and jump before kicking it.”

Johnstone – who came through the youth ranks at Man United – made a string of outstanding saves at Old Trafford. And with the entire team playing well, he admitted the loss was very tough to take.

“We played well,” the keeper said. “The lads were gutted, we were under pressure for some of the game, but still created good chances.

“I made a few saves and to not even get a point is really frustrating.

“I think a point would have been fair.

“But hopefully we can take the work-rate from the Tottenham game and from the Man United and hopefully results will start swaying our way.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged Coote was not originally supposed to be in charge of the match at Old Trafford.

Instead, he has been tasked with being in charge of VAR for Liverpool’s match against Leicester on Sunday night.

But that was the role he had performed for the Merseyside derby last month, when he missed a tackle by Everton’s Jordan Pickford on Virgil van Dijk – a challenge that has ruled the Liverpool defender out for the season.

And because of the social media backlash that followed, the Professional Game Match Officials Board opted to make a switch and place him in charge of the game at Old Trafford.

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