Advantage inside the penalty area is a very rare occurrence, as we are taught to only let play continue only when there is a very high likelihood the attacking team will score. As penalty kicks are converted at an 92% rate at the highest levels, referees should be at least that sure that an advantage within the penalty area will result in a goal.
So it was a quite rare seen indeed to see referee Chris Foy allow play to continue in a recent match between Arsenal and Newcastle United.
Aresnal’s The Walcott (14) managed to squirm between three Newcastle defenders in the penalty area but was fouled in the process and fell to the ground. As the Newcastle defenders began to look at the referee to complain – expecting he was going to award a penalty – Walcott quickly got back to his feet and chipped the ball over Newcastle goalkeeper into the goal.
Referee Foy raised his arms to signal advantage, leaving the Newcastle defenders to ponder their decision not to play to the whistle.
The key learning point here is the same as for all situations where a foul occurs: waiting that extra second before blowing the whistle can pay huge dividends.