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Finlay’s Report: Refereeing controversy ensured it wasn’t a fair game between Sunderland & Luton

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Poor refereeing from ‘Premier League’ official Lee Probert for both sides meant that the biggest game of Sunderland’s season wasn’t allowed to play out in the manner that it should have done.

Newcastle United v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Sunderland and Luton Town fought out a very controversial and passionate 1-1 draw, with two goals and three dubious incidents in the match ensuring that the points were shared on an entertaining afternoon at the Stadium of Light.

Chris Maguire gave Sunderland the lead when Gooch’s shot was deflected into the path of the King and his effort travelled past James Shea in the Luton Town goal.

In the second half, Luton were awarded a penalty when Danny Hylton was brought down by Tom Flanagan rather softly - and James Collins hammered the ball down the middle to equalise for the Hatters. Then, only moments later, Hylton was dismissed when a coming together with Jack Baldwin ended up with Lee Probert showing the Luton Town striker a red card. In stoppage time at the end of the match, Chris Maguire was shown a straight red card for a stamp on Alan McCormack.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

The gaffer made one change to the side that drew 1-1 against Charlton Athletic in League One last Saturday.

Chris Maguire replaced Josh Maja in the side. The striker missed out due to an illness that Jack Ross revealed after the match was a last minute decision. For the first match since injury, Charlie Wyke started up top without counterpart Josh Maja. Some fans may think otherwise to the reason why Maja was dropped, but the boss said that his illness was genuine.

Sunderland started the game on the back foot with Luton Town troubling our backline and in some parts, Jon McLaughlin saved the Black Cats from going behind early on. This gave the hosts the platform to attack, and then take the lead in the 16th minute. Lynden Gooch’s shot was blocked and it was deflecting into the path of Maguire inside the penalty area. His effort was tucked into the bottom right corner and past James Shea.

Sunderland AFC

Then, with 67 minutes on the clock, the game got feisty - first the Premier League referee, Lee Probert, pointed to the spot when the slightest of touches from Tom Flanagan made Danny Hylton fall to the floor. As the atmosphere died it was a heart in the mouth moment as most fans were shocked that a penalty was given. James Collins took the spot kick and left McLaughlin with no chance as he thrashed it straight down the middle.

Then, only three minutes later, the match sparked back into life. This was after Danny Hylton and Jack Baldwin came together from a goal kick. An elbow was supposedly thrown by the Luton Town striker and the referee saw it and raised the red card into the air.

In injury time, another red card was given when Chris Maguire was penalised for an apparent stamp on Alan McCormack, whose reaction sparked tempers between both sets of players. Maguire thought that he wasn’t going to be cautioned as he walked away, but Lee Probert called him back and showed him a straight red card, although the Scotsman was already on a yellow.

It’s unknown as of yet if the club will appeal the red card as Jack Ross said in his pre-match press conference that he needed another look.

Next up, we face a trip to Glanford Park as we take on Scunthorpe United, and I expect that Josh Maja should be back from his illness. And, if the club haven’t appealed the red card by the time next Saturday comes, we will be without the mercurial talent of Chris Maguire.