WITH the way their season has gone, many Reading FC supporters think they did well to draw their away game with fellow strugglers Hull City.

There are others, including Hull fans, who think they were lucky, especially as the referee disallowed, what would have been the winning goal for Hull.

Some Reading supporters, who like me, only saw it on the Channel 5 Football League programme later that evening, have asked me about the incident.

If you haven’t seen it let me describe the circumstances. The Reading goalkeeper, Vito Mannone, blocked a shot from a Hull player. but the ball bounced away from him. He reached out and managed to get one hand on top of the ball, as a Hull player rushing in, kicked it into the goal.

The show’s pundit, whose name I forget, claimed the referee had made a mistake and the goal should have been allowed.

The presenter, Colin Murray, thought otherwise. I was impressed not only that he went against the pundit but he quoted the actual law correctly. That doesn’t happen often with television presenters.

Some may feel goalkeepers are over-protected, but they are often in more vulnerable positions than other players. So what does the law say?

Firstly, it says a goalkeeper cannot be challenged by an opponent when in control of the ball. It considers being in control as when the ball is between the hands, or between the hand and any surface, for example the ground or his own body, or is touching it with any part of the hands or arm.

It also includes holding the ball in the outstretched open hand. Older readers may remember George Best heading the ball out of the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand when about to kick it upfield and scoring a goal. No longer permissible.

The goalkeeper is also said to be in control when he is bouncing the ball or, perhaps surprisingly, throwing it up in the air.

In the Hull game, this law gained Reading a point, thanks to a sharp-eyed referee.