​Rafael Benitez has ​responded to questions regarding referee Kevin Stroud, whose ridiculous penalty decision in the win over Burton Albion overshadowed the game. Newcastle went on to win the game 1-0 in the end thanks to a second half Matt Ritchie goal, but the Scottish international's first half penalty is the incident that has everyone talking. 


As Ritchie stepped up, Dwight Gayle encroached into the box, voiding the penalty conversion. Ordinarily, a retake would've been ordered but for some reason in this game, Stroud awarded an indirect free-kick to Burton. 

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Speaking after the game, Benitez said: "The referee and me have been talking. We need to move forward. We can’t change what happened. 


"We got three points. We have to be ready to be stronger for the next one. After the incident, we were losing our focus. We won. We had a couple of explanations. Nobody was convincing. I prefer to talk about the best goal."

The organisation in charge of allocating referees to game as well as all other refereeing matters of importance, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), also released a statement which read: "In this evening’s EFL Championship game between Newcastle United and Burton Albion, referee Keith Stroud awarded Newcastle a penalty in the 29th minute. 


"As Matt Ritchie took the kick, Dwight Gayle encroached in the penalty area. An indirect free-kick was awarded to Burton, but the Laws of the Game state that that the penalty kick should have been retaken. Unfortunately, the referee has misapplied the Law."

The win kept the Magpies top of the table by a point and on course for Premier League qualification in Rafa's first full season in charge. 


Next up for Newcastle is a trip to sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday, who also need a win themselves to stay in the running for play-off qualification. With just six games to go, things are really hotting up in the Championship, making this a worse time than any for such huge refereeing blunders.