By George Overhill

15th Nov, 2022 | 9:10am

Dermot Gallagher weighs in as Craig Pawson ignores directive in Everton loss to Bournemouth

Craig Pawson went against the referees’ directive by ignoring the head injury to Everton defender James Tarkowski at Bournemouth, Dermot Gallagher has confirmed.

The Toffees had another terrible day against the Cherries in losing 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday (12 November), after being knocked out of the Carabao Cup 4-1 on Tuesday (8 November).

But despite their own failings, Everton were hurt by Pawson allowing play to continue while Tarkowski was lying in the six yard box holding his head, allowing the ball to be recycled and Kieffer Moore to head his side two up.

On Sky Sports’ Ref Watch on Monday (14 November) Gallagher said: “Yes, the game should have been stopped because of the head injury.

“The directive is, if you consider the player’s got a head injury, you must stop the game immediately.

“I’ve put myself in the referee’s position and thought, ‘What’s the danger for him?’ The biggest danger is if he’s thinking, ‘If I stop this play, I’ve got to restart with a drop-ball to the goalkeeper – is that penalising Bournemouth too much?’

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“Well it’s not really a consideration because, when the ball goes back to the wing, there’s not really a massive advantage for Bournemouth.

“People might not be happy but you weren’t to know that’s going to go into the net.

“There’s a fear players could use it subversively but you’ve got to judge each incident on its own merit. If you see that, you see the player’s down a long time.”


Everton can’t claim that it was only this decision, unexplained as it was, that led to another damaging defeat because the players weren’t good enough.

But it doesn’t help matters when clear instructions to officials, put in place to protect the safety of the players, are blatantly disregarded.

There is enough diving in football to know that players will try to manipulate the rules to their advantage, but replays showed Tarkowski clashed heads before he went down, and chances are supposed not to be taken.

Gallagher has performed some logistical gymnastics this season to support refereeing decisions that have gone against the Toffees, so if he is as clear as this that it was the wrong move it must be obvious.

As the Sky Sports man pointed out, it wasn’t even as if the ball was bouncing around in the area with the defender possibly hoping for a whistle to save the danger, since the ball went out and came back in.

There appears to be no excuse for Pawson’s decision in this case, and for once there appears to be a unified chorus of opinions criticising it.

Unfortunately that became a mere footnote to a bad day, as fans and players argued after the final whistle and the club went into the World Cup break under a cloud.