Brighton defender Lewis Dunk described Lee Mason's decision to rule out his goal at West Brom as "embarrassing and horrendous"; Mason disallowed and then allowed a Dunk free-kick before VAR finally ruled the goal out; referee injured towards end of the game at the Hawthorns
Sunday 28 February 2021 22:07, UK
Referee Lee Mason was replaced as fourth official for Sunday's match between Sheffield United and Liverpool due to injury.
Mason was replaced at Bramall Lane by John Brooks, with Jonathan Moss refereeing Sunday night's game.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) confirmed to Sky Sports News that Mason picked up an injury while officiating Saturday's game between West Brom and Brighton, during which Mason was involved in controversially disallowing a Brighton goal.
In the incident, Brighton defender Lewis Dunk curled in a quick free-kick from the edge of the penalty area. Referee Mason blew his whistle - before quickly blowing again - but in between, Dunk had taken a quick free-kick and scored while Sam Johnstone was still lining up his wall.
Mason appeared to rule the goal out straight away but after Brighton's players surrounded him to complain, the referee eventually gave the goal - only to finally reverse his decision after a chaotic few minutes and pull the game back for the visitors to retake their initial free-kick.
After the game, Dunk described Mason's decision as "embarrassing and horrendous" and claimed the referee lost control of the game.
Dermot Gallagher on Sky Sports News:
"I've been in situations in games where I've lost focus for a little while. I think that's the key thing: Lee has lost focus here.
"He's tried to regain it, he's realised, but he's lost a little bit of concentration, and he's not quite in that zone for making accurate decisions.
"He should never have had the free-kick taken in the first place, but having done that, he's then got to follow the process through. He's quickly realised, and quite rightly blown a second time to stop that, to control it, but the ball has entered the net.
"It's at that point the VAR has told him that the ball has not entered the net before the whistle, so therefore the goal doesn't stand.
"The fact he's gone across to the bench has given him that thinking time, created that time for him to get his thoughts and himself together, so that when he goes back, he's in a better frame of mind to restart that situation."
Dunk's disallowed goal was slammed as a "shameful, disgraceful piece of nonsense" by Jeff Stelling.
The Soccer Saturday host was in disbelief as Paul Merson described events at The Hawthorns.
"This is a shambles. Lee Mason, what have you done?" Stelling questioned, as the Soccer Saturday team watched on.
"VAR has given no goal and now he is going to look at the screen. This is a total, utter, shameful, disgraceful, piece of nonsense!
"This is the dream team of Lee Mason and Simon Hooper, who is the VAR at the moment. You could not make this up."
Merson added: "I've never seen anything like this. He's completely out of control."