Date:Monday March 23 2009
Cardiff City were punished by a referee seemingly intent on running the show after 2 red cards and a flurry of yellows emerged in a game no onlooker would call dirty. The referee took centre stage and contibuted significantly to his losing control over the game.
The original incident was a straight red card shown to Gabor Gyepes for a challenge in the box. The referee was about 40 yards away but had no hesitation nor consultation before dismissing Gyepes. I had an excellent view of this and Blades striker Henderson did brilliantly to control the ball, perhaps too well as the ball fell a little too close and he almost over-ran it. In slowing down, he allowed Gyepes to catch up and the Hungarian's momentum was always going to mean contact. However, he clearly took the ball and there was absolutely no appeal form the Sheffield United man - fair play to him, he even admitted to Jay Bothroyd he felt there was no foul. It was a clear guess from the referee that because there was no shot, there must have been a push - decisions change games immeasurably and this one was always likely to mean the points were headed to Yorkshire.
Minutes later, Mr Taylor again rushed in to dismiss Ross McCormack for alledged use of an elbow. This was on the other side of the ground to me, but my initial reaction was that McCormack barely left the ball and had tried to use his body as a shield. These often are awarded fouls, but a red card seemed impossible. Having seen replays, it was a shocker and if this infringement is punishable by red card (and three match ban) - games would end with three men apiece. Blades boss Kevin Blackwell agreed that the decisioon was appalling despite being just a few metres from the incident.
The red cards were not the only ridiculous decisions. At one point, the linesman even shook his head in disbelief after being over-ruled by the referee whho missed a clear touch by a Sheffield United defender already getting back into position before being awarded the throw. The assistant's reaction was not missed by supporters on the bob bank terrace. In another bizarre decision, Taylor book a Sheffield United player (Naughton I think) after Ledley lost possession and 'bought' the free-kick by falling over a standing leg - the booking was absolutely stupid and proved the referee had lost his head.
Referees get a lot of stick in the modern game. Its appalling to see every minor decision challenged and experienced players throwing little on field strops. Almost every game, the officials come in for stick from both sets of supporters. However, this was different. 18000 voices in unity questioning the refs suitability to officiate, thats aside from players of both sides being astounded by his decisions and both managers registering their amazement at proceedings. The FA is running a respect for referees campaign, if they expect/deserve respect - it must be both ways and that 90 minutes requires a full apology from a bungling fool of an official who will surely be subject to review from his governing body.
Date:Monday March 23 2009
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