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Oliver Norwood excuses referee Michael Oliver but explains disbelief after being 'robbed' of goal by Hawk-eye failure

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Norwood pleads his case with referee Michael Oliver.

Norwood pleads his case with referee Michael Oliver.

AFP via Getty Images

Norwood pleads his case with referee Michael Oliver.

Sheffield United and former Northern Ireland midfielder Ollie Norwood could scarcely believe he hadn't scored the opening going of the Premier League's return.

Nor could anybody else, from Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland to the fans watching on from home.

Norwood's in-swinging free-kick was carried over the line by the Villa stopper but the goal wasn't given due to an error in the goal-line technology that Hawk-eye would apologise for later that evening.

“All the money in the game, you’d think that wouldn’t happen,” Norwood said. “You wouldn’t think technology would be robbing us of three points.

“I couldn’t actually see from where I was but the reaction of everyone told me the ball had gone in. The lads who were in the box were celebrating and Billy (Sharp) and John (Egan) were telling me it had gone across the line and I’d scored."

Referee Michael Oliver could be seen pointing to his watched by way of explanation and Norwood, who retired from international duty last year, agrees that the on-pitch official's hands were somewhat tied.

“When the ref didn’t give it, we were wondering what was going on," he continued. I was saying, ‘Ref, what’s happened?’ He told me his watch hadn’t buzzed.

“He apologised later and fair play to him for that. I don’t really think it was his fault but, with all the money that’s gone into this (resumption of the season), you wouldn’t think this would be happening, would you?”

The game ended in a 0-0 draw that left United in sixth place, one behind Manchester United and four off Chelsea in fourth.

“I didn’t think we were great and we didn’t produce our usual quality,” Norwood said. “But if we’d have gone in front at that point, I think it might have been different.

“We could have played better but the first goal is so important and we scored the first goal. I think the pictures tell you everything.”

During the Premier League's break, Norwood penned a new three-year extension to his contract, keeping him at Bramall Lane until 2023.

He added: “I’m delighted to commit arguably, for me, my best years to Sheffield United.

“I think there’s more to come from me as a player, as I mature and step up to play in the Premier League. It’s important we got it sorted pretty quickly and I’m delighted.

“There’s only one way the club is going. We want to keep our best players at the club.

“I’m sure when the time’s right they’ll (others) get things done.

“It’s a special time to be part of this football club, the way we’re going.”

Belfast Telegraph