By Danny Wright

25th Feb, 2022 | 12:33pm

Ex-FIFA referee baffled by Conor Townsend incident as West Brom lose v Middlesbrough

We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League & FIFA-listed referee Keith Hackett as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at West Brom...

Keith Hackett is baffled by Michael Salisbury’s decision to let play go on after a clear foul by West Brom left-back Conor Townsend on Middlesbrough’s Isaiah Jones on Tuesday night.

Jones got the wrong side of Townsend and started to run at goal before he was hauled to the ground by the former Scunthorpe defender.

Middlesbrough players crowded around the referee after the incident, which can be seen on Sky Sports’ YouTube clip below.

Hackett cannot understand why Salisbury didn’t award Middlesbrough a free-kick and show Townsend a yellow card.

However, he feels that Kyle Bartley’s positioning meant that Boro were not denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity and therefore Townsend could not be sent off.

Speaking to West Brom News about Townsend’s incident, the former FIFA and Premier League official said: “I’m amazed.

It’s a definite foul but the reason I don’t think it’s a red card is that there’s a covering defender.

I think the guy in the middle (Bartley) has got a chance so it’s a free-kick and a yellow card. But it’s not a sending off.”

Albion took the lead not too long after Townsend pulled down Jones through loanee Jayson Molumby.

However, an improved Boro in the second half at The Riverside managed to score twice through Paddy McNair and Marcus Tavernier and Chris Wilder’s side earned all three points against the club who could have hired him as manager in the summer.

Steve Bruce is now winless as Baggies manager after four games in charge at the Black Country club sits in 11th place, seven points behind the play-off spots.

In other West Brom news, the Albion have agreed terms for a February signing.

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