IT was a classic tale of the best-laid plans of mice and men during the Premier League’s welcome return during the week.
The Aston Villa-Sheffield United game ended scoreless, but the visitors should have gone home with all three points after a system’s blunder in the first half.
Villa keeper Orian Nyland clearly carried the ball over his own line after a coming together with another Villa player, Keinan Davis, as he attempted to gather a cross.
But, Hawk-Eye didn’t award the goal, apologising for the error because both Nyland, Davis and the goal post obstructed the view of the cameras monitoring the goal line.
Referee Michael Oliver, one of the most experienced whistlers around, could be seen indicating his watch didn’t pick up any signal that a goal had been scored.
It meant he couldn’t intervene — what you can’t see you can’t award — and VAR didn’t get involved either, leaving Sheffield manager Chris Wilder understandably frustrated at the conclusion.
Of course, he was exaggerating, when saying the keeper was in the eighth row of the stand behind his goal, but there’s no denying his side were robbed of a couple of important points in their bid for a place in next season’s Champions League.
Any member of the Limerick minor hurling team of 2013 would have looked on with a grin on their face because of what happened to them in the All-Ireland semi-final defeat after extra-time by Galway.
An early Barry Nash point was ruled out due to a Hawk-Eye malfunction at the Hill 16 end when one of the settings was calibrated for football instead of hurling.
Limerick exhausted all avenues of appealing the outcome but lost out on a second chance of reaching the final.
Tipperary hurling keeper Brian Hogan was involved in two similar incidents also involving Hawk-Eye.
There was some doubt cast over a Kilkenny point by John Donnelly in the first half of the 2019 All-Ireland final.
The ball was caught by Tipperary goalkeeper Brian Hogan, who claimed his hand didn’t go behind the crossbar.
Hogan was involved in a similar incident in the semi-final win over Wexford when a Tipp goal was chalked off as the play had to be brought back and a point awarded to Wexford after the keeper had caught one over the bar.
Technology wasn’t required in Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium courtesy of some Calamity Jane defending by substitute David Luiz, who was at fault for the first couple of goals and earned a red card in the process.
It was a welcome relief to have live soccer back on the box after more than 100 days off and credit to SKY for ensuring the absence of fans was compensated by computed generated crowd interaction.
That was available on one channel and if you preferred just to have commentary alone that, too, was provided on a second channel, as well as a third called Watchalong with fans’ chirping away.
Match commentary wasn’t heard and to ensure social media nerds were fully catered for, a Twitter feed at the bottom of the screen kept all the snowflakes happy. No thanks.
It was all a bit surreal. Players had the slogan Black Lives Matter writ large on the backs of their jerseys and everyone involved ‘took a knee’ before play got underway.
And then in the middle of both halves, there were water breaks for players even though it was pouring out of the heavens in Manchester for the second game.
Today, there’s more action and that is a welcome break from the current tedium of life in a pandemic.