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August 2021

Untold Ref Review: Manchester City 3 – 3 Sunderland

This article is part of a series stretching over several seasons in which a team of referees analyse the work of refs in Premier League matches.

Our figures show that when we analyse the errors made by refs there are consistent trends which do not “even out” through the season, as some commentators would have it.    All the earlier ref reviews plus analyses of the errors made by refs, and articles relating to our campaign to have the body which organises referees activities reformed, plus an analysis of the background to this campaign, can be found on:

Although this is a site built for Arsenal supporters we welcome comments from fans of other teams, although we tend not to publish comments which are simply abusive or which are completely off topic.

Today’s referee is Phil Dowd –

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Phil Dowd (2012-03-31)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
2 OTHER Richards McClean C Push 1
3 PENALTY Richards C some Sunderland players appeal for handball which is rubbish 3
5 OTHER Colback Balotelli C holding 1
8 OTHER Bardsley Balotelli NC Replay shows no contact, a dive. Difficult to see for the ref from his angle maybe 1
10 OTHER Balotelli Bardsley NC Clatters in his back when the defender tries to head the ball, not given 1
12 OTHER Yaya C handball 1
13 OTHER Larsson Silva C Trip 1
13 OFFSIDE MC C Very clear 1
17 OFFSIDE MC C Correct 1
20 OTHER Sun? Yaya C jumped in his back, advantage signalled 1
22 OTHER Throw in NC Throwin in to MC given to Sunderland 1
23 OTHER McClean Silva C Trip 1
25 OTHER mc? Larsson NC push not given 1
27 OTHER Silva Cattermole C Jumped in the back 1
29 OTHER Milner McClean C Jumped in back 1
30 OTHER Balotelli Colback C Trip 1
31 GOAL GOAL Sunderland C correct goal, Bendtner positional offside but not active in play 3
32 OTHER Milner Bendtner NC push in the back not given 1
34 OTHER Sun? Silva C Little trip but he can continue unchallegend advantage given 1
37 OTHER Cattermole Balotelli C nothing given, Cattermole takes advantage of the line the ball is running. Balotelli lost the ball and just falls to the ground 1
38 PENALTY Mignolet Balotelli C Ref gives no penalty when both clash in the penalty area. Replay shows that Mignolet was first to the ball and then Balotelli clattered in to him 3
38 OTHER Balotelli Mignolet NC Because of Balotelli clattering in at the keeper he spills the ball and the ref gives a corner to City. Should have been a free kick to Sunderland 1
39 OTHER Balotelli Turner C jumped in the back of the defender 1
39 YELLOW Balotelli C Ref has a word with Balotelli and tells him to cool down a bit, a verbal warning as he showed he was unhappy with the decision 2
39 OTHER Gardner Yaya C holding for a long time and then tripped him 1
39 YELLOW Gardner C Deliberate fouls one after the other 2
43 PENALTY Gardner Dzeko C Trip, made contact with his left leg 3
43 GOAL MC C correct goal 3
44 OTHER C clash of heads, ref stops play 1
45 YELLOW Bardsley NC while the games is halted for the head clash Barsdley pushes Dzeko in the chest under the nose of the ref, who gives no yellow card. Just a talking too both players 2
47 OTHER Balotelli Mignolet C Balotelli moved in to stop the progress of the keeper, correct call. 1
49 OTHER Kompany Sessegnon C assumed correct, held him down 1
49 GOAL Sun C correct goal 3
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
48 OTHER McClean Dzeko C Trip 1
51 OTHER Cattermole Yaya C Trip 1
55 OTHER Yaya Sessegnon C Attempted trip from behdin, advantage given as he can continue free and release a striker 1
55 GOAL Sun C Direct result from the great advantage played, correct goal 3
56 OTHER De Jong Sessegnon C tackle from behind 1
56 YELLOW De Jong C Ref had no option 2
58 OTHER Johnson Colback C Came just late 1
64 OTHER Larsson Dzeko C Came in studs showing, didn’t touch him but could be dangerous, correct call 1
69 OTHER Sun? MC? C Trip but advantage given, Tevez shoots in the side net 1
74 OTHER sun? Yaya NC Push in the back not given 1
81 OTHER Tevez Cattermole C Trip 1
82 OTHER McClean Yaya C Trip 1
85 OTHER Colback Johnson C Obstruction 1
85 GOAL ManC C Correct goal, also positional offside like with Sunderland first goal 3
87 OTHER Sessegnon Kompany C trip 1
88 OTHER Johnson McClean C 1
91 OTHER Kyrgiakos balotelli C from behind 1
94 OTHER NC Despite a Sunderland sub in the extra time ref Dowd does not allow any extra extra time. I’ve seen him doing different once in a Sunderland game 1

After his great game when he did Arsenal – Aston Villa again a performance that can be found on the good side of the ref reviews we have done.

However a few talking points. Manchester City claimed a penalty when Balotelli and Mignolet went for the ball. Mignolet was first and then they clattered together which forced Mignolet to drop the ball that went out of play. This was never a penalty but should have been a free kick to Sunderland. Dowd gave a corner to City.

There was an incident at the end of the first half when he stopped play for a clash of heads. Suddenly there was an incident under the nose of Dowd where Bardsley pushed Dzeko in an aggressive way on the chest. I thought he should have produced a yellow card there.  Such incidents can set a game on fire if you don’t deal with them. Now the half time tea brought some peace.

COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Phil Dowd (2012-03-31)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 3 3 100.00
OFFSIDE 2 2 100.00
OTHER 16 22 72.73
PENALTY 3 3 100.00
YELLOW 2 3 66.67
TOTAL 26 33 78.79
WEIGHTED 40 48 83.33
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 3 3 100.00
OTHER 13 15 86.67
YELLOW 1 1 100.00
TOTAL 17 19 89.47
WEIGHTED 24 26 92.31
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 6 6 100.00
OFFSIDE 2 2 100.00
OTHER 29 37 78.38
PENALTY 3 3 100.00
YELLOW 3 4 75.00
TOTAL 43 52 82.69
WEIGHTED 64 74 86.49

But all in all another solid performance from Dowd who really is having a good season, if not a great.

BIAS SUMMARY – Phil Dowd (2012-03-31)
Period 1 Manchester City % Sunderland % Total
Correct For 11 42.31 15 57.69 26
Correct For Weighted 19 47.50 21 52.50 40
Incorrect Against 2 28.57 5 71.43 7
Incorrect Against Weighted 3 37.50 5 62.50 8
Fouls Commited 17 70.83 7 29.17 24
Fouls Penalised 11 64.71 7 100.00 18
Period 2 Manchester City % Sunderland % Total
Correct For 10 58.82 7 41.18 17
Correct For Weighted 14 58.33 10 41.67 24
Incorrect Against 2 100.00 0 0.00 2
Incorrect Against Weighted 2 100.00 0 0.00 2
Fouls Commited 5 35.71 9 64.29 14
Fouls Penalised 5 100.00 8 88.89 13
Totals Manchester City % Sunderland % Total
Correct For 21 48.84 22 51.16 43
Correct For Weighted 33 51.56 31 48.44 64
Incorrect Against 4 44.44 5 55.56 9
Incorrect Against Weighted 5 50.00 5 50.00 10
Fouls Commited 22 57.89 16 42.11 38
Fouls Penalised 16 72.73 15 93.75 31


The bias numbers are also very close so neither team could really complain about his wrong decisions. Slightly more than his average 8 wrong calls but only one so we will not make a big fuss of that.

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The only remark I will make is about the fact that in extra time Sunderland made another substitution. But contrary to the game Sunderland – Arsenal last season where he gave also minutes and then let the play continue and continue until Sunderland scored he now stopped the game after 4.09 extra time on the clock. I think he should have allowed City another half a minute and certainly when they were on the attack.  Or did he learn from his mistakes from last season? Or is he having a soft spot for Sunderland?


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4 comments to Untold Ref Review: Manchester City 3 – 3 Sunderland

  • JC

    Added on time for Sunderland v Arsenal last season? What are you on about? It was about 15-20 seconds extra and Sunderland had been all over Arsenal. It would have been a joke had Sunderland not gained a point in that fixture.

    As for the City game, there is no chance Dzeko’s penalty was a good call. The lad dived, he did not have control of the ball when he passed the player.

  • WalterBroeckx


    How well do you know the rules?

    Just suppose a striker is standing in the penalty area, the ball is in play somewhere else. The defender punches the striker on the head.
    So you would say: no penalty because the ball is not in his control?

    Gardner put his leg out and made contact with Dzeko and that is a foul.

  • Dan T

    It was actually over 1 minute. The goal was scored on 90+5. There was only 4 minutes of added time and there were no stoppages in this period. The ref plenty time to blow up.

    Yes, Sunderland were the better team (probably even before Song was sent off) and our goal was a fluke(made up for the misssed penalty though). However, this does not mean the ref can let the game go until he feels the result is the fair one on the balance of play!

  • doanythingformoney

    An excelent review- thanks.