Rugby lines on football pitch confuse keeper who catches ball outside his area

Rugby lines on a football pitch deceived an unwitting goalkeeper who accidentally handballed outside his box as a result.

Bradford City shot stopper Harry Lewis mistook the faded 22m line on Newport County's Rodney Parade pitch, which is also the home of Dragons RFC, for the edge of the 18-yard box. He caught the ball before realising his error and throwing it away.

Referee Sam Allison, who was officiating the League Two fixture which ultimately finished 1-1, opted to show Lewis just a yellow card as he wasn't denying a goal-scoring opportunity. His decision divided the opinion of the managers.

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Veteran gaffer Mark Hughes was relieved he'd used "common sense" to not send his keeper off, telling the South Wales Argus: “He just thought the line was white.

"I think it’s supposed to be blue or green but the rain had washed it away. I think the referee displayed common sense. He understood that it wasn’t intentional.

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"Harry genuinely thought he was in the penalty area. It wasn’t deliberate and I think the referee got it right."

Newport boss Graham Coughlan, however, didn't see it that way. Speaking to the Telegraph and Argus, he fumed: "How the referee came to that conclusion… I’d rather not spent time talking about crazy decisions.

"I do have a degree of sympathy for the goalie, it was an honest error, but if our players made an honest error then they would be punished.

"The law is pretty simple and basic, why the laws of the game were not applied I will never know.

"I am sure the ref will come up with some story but it is a regular thing for us. The referees are trying to do their best but just apply the letter of the law."

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