December 14, 2019 / 9:02 PM / a month ago

Newcastle's Bruce fuming over Wood's Burnley winner

BURNLEY, England (Reuters) - Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce criticised new Premier League referee Tim Robinson after Chris Wood’s controversial second-half goal gave Burnley a 1-0 win at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley v Newcastle United - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - December 14, 2019 Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce reacts Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington

The hosts ended a three-match losing streak in a scrappy game with Wood’s header but Bruce felt debutant Robinson’s award of the goal showed he was not ready for the top flight.

The Clarets broke through when Wood outmuscled Federico Fernandez to meet an Ashley Westwood corner at the back post in the 58th minute.

However, the referee had originally given a goal kick instead of a corner before changing the decision after the intervention of his assistant.

Bruce claimed that Robinson was influenced by the crowd throughout the game and had shown his inexperience.

“We feel aggrieved that the referee has awarded them a corner after initially giving a goal kick. It looked a foul. I’ve seen it again — a clear, blatant foul,” said Bruce.

“We knew the referee was making his debut and you hope it doesn’t hang on a refereeing decision.

“Unfortunately that is what we are talking about. We’re at the elite level and, for me, the referee looked short. It wasn’t just the goal. It’s the other ones (decisions) as well.

“There were far too many mistakes and, for me, he was not ready to referee a Premier League game.”

The victory took Burnley up to 12th on 21 points, one place and a point behind Newcastle.

The visitors came into the game after back-to-back wins but were weakened by injury, missing midfielders Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron. In bitterly cold and windy conditions neither side could find any fluidity in a poor first half.

After Wood’s goal, Burnley midfielder Jack Cork came close to doubling the lead when he robbed Sean Longstaff and slalomed into the area, but his low drive was parried out by Martin Dubravka.

Dwight Gayle had a chance to equalise for the visitors later but turned the ball wide after Brazilian Joelinton had bundled Erik Pieters off the ball and delivered a dangerous low cross.

After a 5-0 thrashing at Tottenham Hotspur followed home defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace, Burnley manager Sean Dyche was glad to get the three points on the board.

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“There was a deliberate edge to our play. All of a sudden, it looks totally different. Twenty-one points at this stage … I know what bad runs are and this wasn’t one of them,” he said.

“I liked the calmness the players had today. It was an important game.”

(This story refile fixes punctuation in headline)

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ian Chadband

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