|Controversy! Referee Bobby Madley (left) and his assistant, Simon Long|
Long raised his flag for an infringement - thought to be offside. He was better placed than the referee, so why was he overruled?
Controversy is part and parcel of football, and referees cannot be expected to justify every decision.
But, at least in this uniquely mysterious instance, the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd surely owes football and its followers an explanation.
Referees have a self-imposed ban on talking to the media, so the responsibility rests with PGMOL‘s general manager, Mike Riley, to explain what happened and why. It is his duty.
If he fails to do so, perhaps one of the big-selling national newspapers - The Sun or the Daily Mail - might engage the services of a lip reader to decipher what was said in the conversation, then reveal the information to a puzzled public.
The probability is that Long flagged for offside, but Madley doubted that scorer Callum Wilson had touched the ball and was thus not interfering with play.
He sought clarification from Long who was unsure if Wilson had touched the ball - an uncertainty that persuaded the referee to allow the goal.
The episode highlights another hazard of refereeing. If a referee chooses to run over to his assistant, the controversy will almost inevitably be magnified.
|Make yourselves scarce! The two officials certainly don't want the players' input|
|The reason I raised the flag . . . Long explains|
|The reason I am overruling you . . . Madley explains|
|At the final whisle, Long wisely keeps his distance as West Ham boss David Moyes demands answers|
|David Moyes laments the decision in his post-match interview on BBC TV's Match of The Day|
|The officials' conversation seemed "to take an age" - Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe reflects on what happened|
|It was "a touch of magic" - Callum Wilson's wry description of his contentious goal|