Thursday, January 15, 2009

My nightmare match

I've left it for a while so that the team doesn't decide to sue me, but I have to confess I recently had one of the worst matches I've had since I started refereeing seven or eight years ago. I made half a dozen stupid mistakes, but the disaster was that they were all against the same team. Mistakes more often than not even themselves out, but this poor team - I'll call them Reds to spare my blushes - suffered at my hands.
The first mistake happened after 5 minutes when the club linesman flagged for offside. As I blew, a red midfielder charged through from an onside position to collect the ball while the player who'd been in an offside position stood by innocently. A couple more debateable decisions went against the reds and the moaning started, getting louder as the match went on and prompting me to book several of their exasperated players.
Then, in the second half, a "Blues" player I'd already cautioned leapt with both feet off the ground into a tackle, narrowly avoiding a Red player. A clear case of reckless behaviour, but I didn't give a second yellow. Why? God knows. Perhaps a misguided desire to keep players on the pitch and a thought that he hadn't actually made contact. Still, a bad mistake.
With the Reds losing 1-0 and 2 minutes to play, one of their attackers burst into the penalty area after the ball had been punted upfield. I was caught out of position but managed to be about 25 yards away from the action by the time the Red attacker, under the close attention of a defender, went down to the ground.
I would love to have given a penalty, but I saw no contact between the two players and felt the Red player had stumbled rather than been fouled. And in addition, I clearly saw the ball bounce off the attacker's knee and go out of play, so the poor victims didn't even get a corner, let along a penalty.
They went crackers, seeing a conspiracy against their team. But I think that decision was just about the only decent one I gave in the match.
Unsurprisingly, not a single Red player shook my hand after the match.

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