REF David Coote was shown the red card on social media after he TACKLED Mason Mount as the Chelsea midfielder prepared to shoot against Luton in the FA Cup today.
Fans fumed when statuesque Coote unwittingly did a far better of stopping England star Mount than many Premier League defenders have managed.
Ref David Coote reacts slowly and impedes Chelsea star Mason Mount in a very dangerous position against Luton
Mason Mount was floored by the accidental block from ref David Coote
Tammy Abraham’s hat-trick saw off Championship side Luton 3-1 to earn a fifth-round trip to Barnsley and ease the pressure on Blues‘ boss Frank Lampard.
But even Lamps could not have expected the glaring spotlight to switch from him to Coote in such a bizarre manner.
Mason cut back sharply onto his left foot just outside the box – but straight into Coote, who was doing the world’s most awkward-looking 180-degree turn as he realised he was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Coote immediately blew up and raised his hands in front of him to admit his mishap.
But social media was far less forgiving than Mount and Co – although some fans saw the lighter side of such a rare incident.
One said: “Cleanest tackle. Ever” while another pointed out: “We’re in need of a ball-winning midfielder as well.”
Coote was also labelled “awful” and “one of the worst referees in the top tier”.
And a stats-minded armchair critic claimed: “One assist for Chelsea first goal. Mr. Incompetent.”
That was a reference to Coote’s role – or lack of it – in Abraham’s controversial opener.
Despite a multi-ball system NOT being used, Chelsea used a different ball for a throw-in after Luton keeper Simon Sluga booted a goal-kick straight out .
And there were even two balls on the pitch briefly, before the Blues knocked the spare one off.
England star Mason Mount must have been happy with his sharp turn – until the man in the middle, David Coote, unwittingly intervened
But the officials never stopped play and Abraham tucked in strike-partner Timo Werner’s cut-back
Hatters boss Nathan Jones blasted he had never been “disrespected” by a ref in football as much as Coote – when the official dismissed Luton’s queries over the build-up.
LutonToday quote Jones as saying: “The rules have changed apparently, so I don’t know when but the rules have changed.
“First of all, we asked the fourth official is it multi-ball? He said ‘no’, so you have to use the same ball.
“I asked the referee if it was multi-ball and he just kept quoting the rule book to me, so I have no idea, I couldn’t get clarification.
“I waited 30 minutes and he actually got changed and has gone, so I’m baffled, I don’t know what’s going on as I did not know.
“I’ve been a professional footballer for 29 years, I’ve been a manager and a coach for nine, and in all that time when a second ball comes on the pitch, play stops, but apparently not today, so I don’t know.
“When I went to speak to the referee, he literally couldn’t make eye contact with me, he treated me with the biggest amount of disrespect I’ve ever been treated with and just kept quoting a rule book about something I wasn’t actually asking him, so it puzzled me.”