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Nov 10, 2008

Toon boss Kinnear in hot water after ref rant?

Joe Kinnear could face a Football Association charge of bringing the game into disrepute after the Newcastle United boss accused referee Martin Atkinson of costing his side a vital point in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Man-of-the-match Andy Johnson won a penalty when he was felled by Fabricio Coloccini in the box, and Danny Murphy duly tucked away a 66th-minute spot-kick to notch his 100th career goal.

But Kinnear was incensed at Atkinson's failure to spot what he felt was a clear push by Johnson on Claudio Cacapa in the build-up to the penalty.

Newcastle, who replied to Johnson's opener in the first-half through Shola Ameobi's 57th-minute strike, dominated proceedings after the half-time interval and Fulham's subsequent winner arrived against the run of play.

''We finished the first half better and dominated the second. There was a blatant foul prior to the penalty, which the referee ignored,'' Kinnear said. ''We were camped in their half. Cacapa was on the ball and Johnson completely pushes him out the way, nicks the ball and gets the penalty.

''We've got the Mickey Mouse referee doing nothing. He's made an error that cost us. The same thing happened last week with a penalty against Man City. Later on it was proved it wasn't a penalty and we had a player sent off. That cost us points.

''It just doesn't stop but that's the standard of refereeing in this country. It happens week in, week out. There's always a smart answer like 'someone was obstructing my view'. You used to be able to have a bit of banter with referees and they'd put their hands up if they make mistakes. Now they hide.''

The Football Association are understood to be reviewing Kinnear's comments.

Defeat ended the recent revival under Kinnear with the Magpies arriving at Craven Cottage looking for their third successive Premier League victory. Instead, the Magpies slipped into the relegation zone while Fulham surged up to 10th in a desperately tight top-flight table.

In his seven-Premier League game tenure as Newcastle's interim manager Kinnear has won two, drawn two and lost three, garnering nine of the club's 12 points for the season.

Meanwhile England coach Fabio Capello was watching from the stands and Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson felt the Italian's interest may have been piqued by Johnson's match-winning turn.

''Andy's a wonderful finisher. That first goal started fortuitously but he dispatched it so quickly with his left foot, which isn't his favourite,'' he said. ''It was a sharp piece of moving for the penalty, provoking the defender to try and win the ball.

''That penalty won us the game and we have to be delighted with him. That's his second man-of-the-match performance. If I was the national team manager, I'd be making a little note saying 'this looks interesting, let's keep an eye on the situation'.''

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