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The Virtues of the Slow Whistle

English: Marouane Fellaini for Everton

English: Marouane Fellaini for Everton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The February 2 match with Aston Villa at Everton was exciting, with Everton erasing a two-goal deficit. Fellaini’s goal in added time that leveled the match was an example of the virtues of a slow whistle, especially in the Penalty Area.

In the 90th+3 minute, Everton was awarded a corner kick. Referee Michael Jones had previously dealt with several Everton/Aston Villa dust-ups on set pieces. He was monitoring activity just inside the PA. Everton was using a basketball-style screen to free up attackers rotating to goal. After the first Everton player rotated in, Jones was focused on some minor shoving in the area of the screen. Everton #7 (Jelavic) then rotated through the same screen towards the far post, marked by Aston Villa #6 (Clark). When Jelavic cut towards the near post, Clark, having lost a defensible position, shoved him with two arms from behind, knocking him to the ground.

From the camera angles, it appeared to be a clear foul, and within the view of Jones. Clark demonstrated the classic hands in the air of the offender. Jelavic did not show any obvious signs of a dive, and quickly tried to get to his feet as the ball approached, as the push occurred with the ball in the air. Some referees would have awarded a penalty kick at that moment. Jones did not.

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