We may be two days on from the crushing FA Cup Final defeat at the hands of Manchester United, but for many, the refereeing errors made by Mark Clattenburg on Saturday evening are still causing a nasty sting and lasting sting.
The two most obvious mistakes made by the man in black came in the opening 45 minutes of the fixture, when he twice blew up for free-kicks to Crystal Palace when an obvious advantage was unfolding in front of his eyes.
The first instance of this saw the Eagles denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, following a straight foot-race between Connor Wickham and Chris Smalling in pursuit of a low through-ball from inside the Palace half. With the defender flat out, he went to ground, causing Wickham to stumble but not lose his balance, prompting Clattenburg to blow his whistle in record time.
The support housed at the far end of Wembley were incensed, but only became more exasperated when the referee decided to do the same a few minutes later, this time following a foul of Wilfried Zaha around half-way up the pitch as Joel Ward bombed on to the loose ball in front of him. In a moment that could easily have been lifted straight from an FA textbook demonstrating the exact time at which the advantage rule should be used, the referee decided to bring play to a halt, causing Alan Pardew to remonstrate openly with the fourth official.
The video analysis above shows the BT Sport panel, made up of Rio Ferdinand, Ian Wright and Paul Scholes in universal agreement over the poor conduct of Mark Clattenburg in both instances, breaking down both moves in detail to prove that the referee’s decision-making missed the mark by a mile.
It doesn’t make defeat any easier to swallow, indeed, for some it may cause even more consternation, but it does at least prove that we weren’t all looking at the situation through red and blue tinted glasses on Saturday evening.