NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Newcastle survived a glaring blunder by the referee to stay on track for an instant return to the Premier League on Wednesday.
Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie converted a first-half penalty but the goal was immediately ruled out by the referee, who gave an indirect free kick to opponent Burton Albion.
Confusion reigned at St. James' Park and Newcastle's players, along with their manager Rafa Benitez, complained to match officials.
In a statement issued after the match, which Newcastle went on to win 1-0 thanks to a goal from Ritchie, English soccer's refereeing body confirmed that a Newcastle player had encroached in the penalty area as Ritchie took the spot kick.
"An indirect free kick was awarded to Burton, but the laws of the game state that the penalty kick should have been retaken," the statement said.
"Unfortunately, the referee has misapplied the law. (Referee) Keith (Stroud) and his team are understandably upset at the lapse in concentration and apologize for the mistake."
Newcastle's win lifted the team back to the top of the second-tier League Championship, a point ahead of Brighton.