THERE are many occasions in football when you optimistically appeal, as a supporter, for a penalty kick – even when you are sceptical that anything sinister has taken place.
But the 1,000 travelling Sheffield United fans had more than a case to be aggrieved in the second half of the Yorkshire derby at Valley Parade.
In what first appeared to be an innocuous collision in the 18-yard box, television replays clearly depicted Bradford defender Rory McArdle physically wrestling Blades midfielder Stefan Scougall to the deck.
Sympathy and understanding can be apportioned when match officials are blocked by other players and cannot determine what has occurred – but, as seen below, referee Simon Hooper had an unobstructed line of vision.
The 68th minute incident – with the scoreline still goalless – had United manager Nigel Clough up in arms in his technical area.
But it was soon forgotten as left-back Bob Harris struck his first goal for the club and substitute Marc McNulty bagged his fourth of the season to give the visitors a 2-0 win.
Bradford played virtually all of the second half with 10 men after Stephen Darby was shown a second yellow card just nine seconds after the break.
The evening League One kick-off was screened live on Sky Sports.
Referee Hooper – from Swindon in Wiltshire – was involved in another incident on the opening weekend of the Championship season when he appeared to have been pushed by Martin Olsson after the Norwich defender was sent off in their 1-0 defeat at Wolves.