MATT RITCHIE is adamant he should have been celebrating a Newcastle United winner at the weekend, claiming his first-half strike at St Andrew’s should not have been disallowed for offside.
Ritchie bundled home five minutes before the interval, converting from close range after Ayoze Perez nudged the ball into his path.
Perez’s initial shot had been saved by Tomasz Kuszczak, and Ritchie is convinced he was not standing ahead of the Spaniard when the ball was prodded in his direction.
Television replays are inconclusive, but the furious reaction of Newcastle’s players suggest they were certain the goal should have should and Ritchie continues to hold that opinion.
“It definitely looks an incorrect decision to me,” said the winger. “I might have been level with Ayoze, but if anything I think I was behind him because I gambled on it coming back out.
“It was disappointing, but in the end, you look at it and it could be a good point. We all know this league is unforgiving, and we’ve come away from a tough place with a draw.
“We had the one that was disallowed, Murph (Daryl Murphy) had a couple of headers on target, and then I had one that was tipped around the post too. The keeper made a good save around the post.
“We were a little bit unlucky, but they don’t go in all the time and we just need to stay positive. We’re in a good position. We’re at the top of the league, and as long as we continue to perform as we have throughout the season, then the league table doesn’t lie.”
Newcastle’s defensive resilience ensured they did not leave Birmingham empty-handed, and Ritchie admits his side have had to learn how to grind out a result when they are not necessarily at their best.
“The lads are disappointed not to have won, but at the start of the season, that’s maybe the type of game we would have lost 1-0,” he said. “There are certainly positives to take from it. They’re a good side and they played some good stuff as well.
“It was disappointing not to take all three points, but we got a point and at this stage of the season, every point is an important one. Hopefully, it’ll mean a lot come the end of the season.”