Will Kevin be QPR's Friend this Saturday?
Thursday, 25th Nov 2010 20:23 by Clive Whittingham
Premiership referee and (normally) home orientated official Kevin Friend is the man in charge of the top of the table clash with Cardiff at Loftus Road this weekend.
Referee >>> Kevin Friend (Leicestershire), Premiership referee with a chequered recent history of refereeing QPR. Was in charge for our 2-1 win at Palace earlier this season.
Assistants >>> Rob Pollock (Merseyside) and William Smallwood (Cheshire)
Fourth Official >>> Grant Hegley (Hertfordshire) ten year veteran of the league list with 16 games in the middle to his name already this season.
The game then, finally, settled down a little and the next action of note was a booking for Hogan Ephraim after 20 minutes. Julian Bennett, on loan at Palace from Nottingham Forest, pushed the ball past Ephraim down the Palace left. Now initially Ephraim clearly fouled his man, wrestling with Bennett in an attempt to prevent him running clear down the line towards the area, but Bennett managed to wriggle free and play was waved on by referee Kevin Friend. Then under little, or to put it another way absolutely no, contact Bennett hit the ground theatrically as Ephraim came back for a second go. A booking and free kick for the first foul certainly, but Bennett ultimately bought the decision from the referee after he realised his options for a cross were limited.
The bookings were levelled up five minutes before half time when Adel Taarabt was chopped down in full flight by Andrew Dorman who had seemed to escape without a booking until Ephraim protested vehemently that this challenge was at least as bad as his and then the card did eventually come out. The free kick was taken a good five yards further back than where the foul had been committed, seemingly on the insistence of Edgar Davids who may find himself more usefully employed as a referee judging by his performance on Saturday, and was eventually struck into the wall by Adel Taarabt.
Ultimately that proved to be good news for QPR who broke away at lightening pace with the ball at the feet of Kyle Walker. The Tottenham loanee, who seems to be getting better with every game, set off on a mazy run across the field from right to left, and then round the side of Clyne who was comprehensively done for pace by Walker as he accelerated away into the Palace half. Clyne clearly fouled Walker and although Kevin Friend nitially did the right thing by waving advantage he then gave a free kick against the QPR man when Alex Marrow put himelf between Walker and the ball and was wrestled to the ground. Neil Warnock was rightly furious that play had not been brought back for the first offence, Walker got no reward for a lovely piece of play and Rangers were quickly on the back foot again. The free kick was pumped forward, Kaspars Gorkss was crudely dumped to the ground by substitute Calvin Andrew and lay injured on the edge of the box – play was waved on despite this being a clear foul and a nasty injury – and Rangers were left to scramble the ball away with their centre back stricken on the turf. This was not Kevin Friend’s finest few minutes of refereeing, and the injury to Gorkss quickly cost QPR a goal as the Latvian struggled to cope with the pace of the home side’s attack having been reduced to playing on one leg.
This quick counter attack was a feature off both sides’ play on Saturday and made for a thoroughly entertaining game. Neil Warnock promised during the pre-season that QPR would go to win every game and he has certainly been true to his word so far. Palace’s keenness to get on with things cost Clint Hill a thoroughly deserved yellow card midway through the second half when he cynically poked the ball away as they were about to take a quick free kick. Good refereeing on that occasion.
Two minutes into stoppage time, the final glorious act. Mikele Leigertwood stuck the ball forward and Helguson, as ever, won his header and flicked the ball in behind the Palace defence. Jamie Mackie, as ever, chased it down and could have delivered a decent low cross into the box from the position he was in but, realising there was nobody who’d been able to keep up with him, he checked back and fed the ball back to Leigertwood who switched the attack to Tommy Smith wide on the left. Smith sent in a cross to the back post where Speroni looked favourite to gather until Helguson charged in and powerfully headed the ball down into the bottom corner.
The Palace players immediately besieged the referee and my first reaction was that Helguson had diverted the ball into the net with his arm. Referee Kevin Friend stood still, signalling neither a goal nor a free kick, his linesman also remained fixed to the ground and stared straight back at him. Helguson was ridiculously penalised for non-existent fouls on Leicester goalkeeper Carl Ikeme three times in the last away game and had a nervous look over his shoulder as he wheeled away to celebrate but on this occasion, no free kick was forthcoming. QPR celebrated, Palace surrounded the match officials and Speroni was booked for dissent - another three points had been secured in the most dramatic circumstance.
Crystal Palace: Speroni 7, Clyne 7, Marrow 6, McCarthy 6, Bennett 7, Davids 5 (Gardner 56, 6), Garvan 7, Dorman 6 (Andrew 79, 7), Djilali 7, Zahar 8, Counago 5 (Cadogan 46, 7)
Subs Not Used: Price, Holness, N'Diaye, O'Keefe
Booked: Dorman (foul), Speroni (dissent)
Goals: Cadogan 89 (assisted Zahar)
QPR: Kenny 7, Walker 8, Connolly 7, Gorkss 8, Hill 7, Buzsaky 6 (Leigertwood 83, -), Derry 7, Mackie 8, Taarabt 7 (Smith 72, 7), Ephraim 8, Helguson 8
Subs Not Used: Rowlands, Agyemang, Cerny, Borrowdale, German
Booked: Ephraim (foul), Hill (kicking ball away)
Goals: Taarabt 49 (assisted Mackie), Helguson 90 (assisted Smith)
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 6 A real mixed bag of decisions here. Mr Friend is never knowingly troubled either by fairness or the rules of the game when it comes to giving away sides absolutely nothing and there were times in the second half when I was just waiting for the inevitable Palace penalty decision, especially in the made ten minutes just before their goal when every single decision seemed to go their way. However all four yellow cards were the correct decisions and the big moment of the game, in stoppage time, he called absolutely right. It would be over critical of me to suggest he and the linesman were both frantically looking for a reason to disallow it, such was the reaction of the Palace players, but there you go I’ve said it anyway.
Plymouth had further cause to feel aggrieved with the linesman in front of the away end when a cross by Mackie struck Gorkss on the hand and flew out for a corner. The linesman gave nothing, referee Kevin Friend decided he had handled the ball but gave a free kick outside the area rather than a penalty kick – at the time I thought that the handball looked accidental but having given it Friend really had to award the spot kick as Gorkss was clearly in the area.
Both teams had great chances to score in the final minute of the half. First QPR found the net for the second time in the game, Martin Rowlands curling the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards out. Bizarrely though the celebrations were cut short by a linesman’s flag which disallowed the goal, presumably for offside against Heidar Helguson even though the striker never touched the ball as it went through and in. Under the new offside laws this decision looked a very poor one, and just like the Barnsley v Burnley game a fortnight ago I felt the referee and the linesman should have had a discussion about who had been flagged offside and whether or not he was interfering. In my opinion the goal should have stood.
Rowlands and Helguson were both furious and while arguments with both officials continued Plymouth got on with the game and could have rubbed salt into the wounds with an eqauliser at the other end. Gorkss was caught the wrong side of Mackie as he raced onto a through ball, the winger opened his body up and prepared to bend the ball around Cerny and into the top corner but the Czech keeper read his intentions and saved splendidly at close range – a class save that ensured the R’s led at half time although Ainsworth, Sousa, Rowlands and Helguson all had a say with the officials on the way off the pitch adamant that the score should have been two nil.
Heidar Helguson went into the book for a crude tackle on Chris Clark as he pushed forward from full back, although seconds earlier Chris Barker had upended Dexter Blackstock in similar circumstances without receiving a card. With the very last kick of the game a cross from the Plymouth right struck Mikele Leigertwood square in the chest in the penalty area – an incident that brought Plymouth fans on all sides of the ground to their feet screaming for handball but it never looked like it and Kevin Friend ignored the appeals before blowing the final whistle almost immediately.
Plymouth: Larrieu 6, Clark 6, Timar 7, Seip 7, Barker 6, Mackie 6 (Marin 78, 6), Summerfield 6, Walton 6, Paterson 6 (Noone 69, 6), Gallagher 5 (MacLean 77, 7), Fallon 7
Subs Not Used: Folly, Cathcart
Booked: Walton (foul)
Goals: MacLean 83 (assisted Fallon)
QPR: Cerny 8, Ramage 6 (Hall 81, 5), Stewart 6, Gorkss 7, Delaney 6, Mahon 6, Rowlands 7, Cook 6 (Ephraim 68, 5), Leigertwood 6, Agyemang 5 (Blackstock 77, 5), Helguson 6
Subs Not Used: Cole, Tommasi
Booked: Ramage (foul), Helguson (foul)
Goals: Helguson 16 (assisted Rowlands)
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 6 Not too bad overall. Both QPR bookings followed identical fouls by Plymouth players that did not get yellow cards but other than that he was unfussy and even handed which is not usually the case with him. Plymouth will say they should have had two penalties but he needed help from his linesman with the Gorkss decision and the one at the end didn’t look like a handball in a million years. Not for the first time a decent refereeing performance was let down by the ineptness of the two linesmen.
Unfortunately for the in form keeper Southampton’s task got a lot more difficult just before the half hour mark when they were reduced to ten men. QPR had enjoyed terrific possession down the left flank a number of times in the first half and after another marauding run by Damien Delaney young Ollie Lancashire trotted across to execute one of those strong tackles he’s heard all about – a let them know you’re there sort of thing. Sadly the youngster was far too enthusiastic and his two footed, scissor like hack was wild, late and dangerous, leaving Delaney in an agonised heap and referee Kevin Friend with little option but to offer the debutant first use of the bath water. Unfortunately for the boy he can have few complaints.
The second half started with a goalmouth scramble at the Loft End that Blackstock and Leigertwood both looked set to finish with a second goal only to be denied by some desperate last ditch defending in the six yard box. Then came a poor challenge by Wotton on Parejo in the middle of the park. On another day this could have been a red card as well but Mr Friend waved play on and didn’t return to the incident once play had come to a close. Parejo was angered by this and lost the plot for a good five minutes, first having to be stopped by Damion Stewart from seeking retribution on the player, and then attending a referee and captain conference as the guilty party in a dissent case. He can certainly spray a pass around the park, but he is a mardy git at times and did little of any real note in this match.
Once the referee had made it clear, with loud, slowly spoken English and hand actions, that Parejo should be quiet for a bit McGoldrick struck a free kick into the wall from the edge of the area when well positioned to test the keeper – Surman looked a better bet for that one to me. Still the away side didn’t have to wait long for a deserved leveller. Davis started the move with a quick throw and with the QPR midfield scattered far and wide the impressive Adam Lallana was allowed to race down the middle of the park and finish from just inside the penalty area after a one two with Gillett. A classy goal from back to front and nothing more than Southampton deserved.
Rowlands wasted little time, four minutes infact, before making an impact. A harsh decision to penalise Wotton for a foul on Blackstock set up a free kick 40 yards out left of centre. Rowlands stepped up and whipped a devilish delivery into the far post area where Damion Stewart ghosted in behind and slammed home his first league goal of the season – replays showed him to be at least three yards offside when the ball was played, a poor decision from the linesman but just the breakthrough Rangers needed.
Referee Friend burst back into life after the Stewart goal with Southampton probably still feeling rightly aggrieved to be behind again. Schneiderlin, Leigertwood and Delaney were all booked in a two minute flurry of discipline for fouls on Rowlands, Lallana and James respectively. Southampton then sent on loaned Tottenham striker Tomas Pekhart as part of their quest for another equaliser but that only served to open the game up more and QPR had more space to play in and put the game to bed.
QPR: Cerny 6, Ramage 5, Stewart 7, Connolly 7, Delaney 7, Mahon 5, Leigertwood 7, Ephraim 6 (Rowlands 8), Parejo 6 (Agyemang 8), Cook 6, Blackstock 8
Subs Not Used: Camp, Gorkss, Balanta
Booked: Leigertwood (foul), Delaney (foul)
Goals: Blackstock 1 (assisted Mahon), Stewart 63 (assisted Rowlands), Blackstock 77 (assisted Agyemang), Agyemang 90 (assisted Cook)
Southampton: Davis 9, Wotton 6, Lancashire 4, Cork 5, Gillett 6, James 6, Surman 6, Holmes 6 (Dyer 23, 7), Schneiderlin 6 (Pekhart 69, 6), Lallana 7, McGoldrick 6
Subs Not Used: Bialkowski, Perry, John
Sent Off: Lancashire (30) (two footed tackle)
Booked: Schneiderlin (foul), Dyer (foul)
Goals: Lallana 53 (unassisted)
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 6 Little choice with the sending off in my opinion but got a bit card happy in the second half and Southampton can count themselves very unfortunate not to have the Stewart goal disallowed. Pretty home orientated as always I thought.
QPR: Camp, Connolly (Mancienne, 89 ) , Stewart, Rehman, Delaney, Buzsaky, Rowlands (Leigertwood, 39 ) , Mahon, Ephraim (Blackstock, 68 ) , Vine, Agyemang
Subs not used: Pickens, Lee
Goals: Mahon 11, Agyemang 30
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Caldwell, Varga, Harley, Elliott, Gudjonsson, O'Connor ( Spicer, 89 ) , Lafferty, Blake ( Akinbiyi, 46 ) , Cole ( Randall, 89 )
Subs not used: Kiraly, Jordan
Goals: Cole 41, 56, 86, Akinbiyi 77
Referee – Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 8 Didn’t really complain about him all night so he must have been doing alright.
Referee Kevin Friend took centre stage for a while, as he does so often when refereeing QPR away games. He penalised Jimmy Smith for allowing Jaidi to climb all over his back, and then pulled up Damion Stewart for crawling all over Campbell's back in the same way. He then blew for a foul by Milanese and booked him for kicking the ball away. Still he did let Stewart away with what looked like a pretty brutal body check on McSheffrey so he wasn't as totally home biased as usual.
Minutes after his booking Milanese crunched into McSheffrey and was spoken to by the referee. Friend had words with him again after half time at which point Gregory replaced him with Rowlands, presumably to save the side from going down to ten men - a shame because Milanese had a steady game apart from these indiscretions.
At ten to four Friend saw fit to add on an extra minute during which Bendtner somehow failed to convert Sadler's low cross but Rangers looked comfortable after the equaliser. Smith wasn't having a particularly good game in midfield, but Bircham alongside him was in fine form and QPR were finally achieving their aim of frustrating Birmingham as half time approached.
At the other end Furlong was working hard despite being manhandled by Jaidi at every opportunity with little come back from the referee. Alongside him Blackstock was quiet but he did fire over the bar from twenty yards out after working hard to win possession ahead of Upson.
Four minutes of time was added on at the end, the majority of which was taken up by Cameron Jerome who theatrically flung himself to the ground under minimal contact from Michael Mancienne as he looked to break through into the penalty area and then sat motionless on the turf until play was stopped. The home fans were irate that QPR didn't kick the ball out and that the referee refused to allow a physio on but such was the farcical nature of Jerome's collapse Mr Friend could be forgiven for thinking he was merely playing for time and it was something of a surprise when he had to be replaced by Muamba for the final thirty seconds.
Birmingham: Maik Taylor 7, Kelly 7, Jaidi 8, Upson 8 (Larsson 89, -), Sadler 7, Johnson 7, Nafti 6, Clemence 6, McSheffrey 8, Bendtner 8, Campbell 6 (Jerome 59, 7, (Muamba 90, -))
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Danns.
Goals: Upson 22, Jerome 62.
QPR: Royce 8, Bignot 6, Mancienne 6, Rehman 5, Stewart 7, Milanese 7 (Rowlands 75, 6), Bircham 8 (Bailey 59, 4), Smith 5, Cook 6, Furlong 6, Blackstock 5 (Ray Jones 81, 5)
Subs Not Used: Cole, Ward
Goals: Cook 31
Ref: K Friend (Leicestershire) 5 - Usual series of bizarre decisions but certainly this wasn't the worst game I've ever seen him have. I'd like to know his justification for penalising Blackstock, Smith and others for backing into Jaidi when he crawled all over them while at the other end Birmingham again got the decision when Stewart crawled all over their forwards. Deserves a pat on the back for telling Jerome where to get off in injury time though.
Rangers needed something. They hadn't been in the Leeds half for almost half an hour, they had no answer to Lewis, Horsfield or Healy, they should have been at least two goals down. It was a shambles. That something they needed came five minutes before half time, Damion Stewart took charge of the situation and executed a magnificent sliding tackle on Bakke on the edge of the area. The big Jamaican dispossessed his opponent and, better still, sent the ball thirty yards down field straight to Czerkas.
The Loft cheered, his team mates applauded - finally a decent, strong piece of defending. And yet referee Kevin Friend, after a delay of almost ten seconds, decided that in fact this magnificent piece of defending was a foul. Not only that but a foul worthy of a booking. He'd spent most of the half giving lots of questionable decisions to the home team, as is his usual way, but suddenly he strapped on a pair and decided to give one the away side's way.
Lewis struck the resulting free kick round the wall and towards the bottom corner but Jones was alert and got down quickly to make a smart save.
In the eighty first minute Rangers got their reward for changing the system when Gareth Ainsworth crumbled under minimal contact from Crainey and a penalty was awarded. Ainsworth certainly played for the spot kick and having watched the replay this morning I can say with some confidence that this was a vintage Kevin Friend home town decision - I told you we needed to have him at Loftus Road one day.
Martin Rowlands stepped up to take the kick with Rangers' two first choice penalty takers off the pitch and Ainsworth still waking up in a cold sweat thinking about his effort against Stoke. Warner tried everything he could to put him off, wandering off towards the corner flag for a drink and a chat with the linesman - behaviour that earned him a deserved yellow card. Paul Butler was lucky not to be booked as well as he wandered round the penalty area talking to his keeper and moaning about the placing of the ball to the officials.
Finally after a lengthy delay the whistle was blown and Rowlands stepped up. Warner guessed the right way but Rowlands' kick carried too much venom and zipped into the bottom corner.
QPR: P Jones 9, Bignot 4 (Baidoo 76, 8), Rose 4, Stewart 4, Milanese 5, Ainsworth 7, Lomas 7, Rowlands 7 (Bircham 89, -), Cook 7, Ward 7, Czerkas 5 (Jones 54, 7).
Subs not used: Cole, Kanyuka.
Goals: Rowlands 80 (pen), Baidoo 90
Bookings: Stewart 39
Leeds United: Warner 7, Kelly 7, Crainey 5, Butler 7, Healy 7 (Carole 76, 6), Horsfield 8 (Moore 84, -), Lewis 7, Stone 8, Bakke 7 (Westlake 50, 6), Derry 6, Kilgallon 6.
Subs not used: Gregan, Blake.
Goals: Lewis 65, Horsfield 82
Bookings: Crainey 6, Derry 45, Warner 79, Kilgallon 90
Referee: Mr K A Friend 5 - Well we were right, he is a home town decision maker. Apart from the scandalous decision against Stewart in the first half just about everything went Rangers way, including a highly debatable penalty. God forbid we have him for an away game again this season, I had just about all I could take at Bramall Lane last time.
When United did take the lead it came in controversial circumstances. Armstrong swung a corner right under the crossbar and with Akinbiyi holding Paul Jones shirt with one hand and shoving Bircham in the back with the other the ball rebounded into the net off the Rangers man. QPR players surrounded the referee but he showed no interest in their complaints and United were in front. In fairness Kevin Friend has a pathological fear of giving the away team anything other than meaningless free kicks deep in their own half so he was never going to disallow a goal for the home side. It's called being a coward.
Things seemed destined to fall apart straight after half time though, with Mr Friend again taking centre stage. First he booked Richard Langley for a foul on Tonge. This was Langley's first offence of any note in the match while Montgomery had been through the back of Furlong once and Lomas twice without punishment, and Tonge himself had committed five fouls in the first half alone.
From the free kick Armstrong swung the ball to the back post, Jones collided with Lomas in trying to catch the cross and the ball fell loose on the edge of the six yard box. Morgan and Evatt tussled for possession and the QPR man got a boot to the ball to clear it but Mr Friend had spotted an infringement and pointed to the spot. At the time I thought it looked a harsh decision, having seen it on the video it's a bloody scandalous one. It's called being a crook.
Danny Shittu was booked for dissent.
For the second consecutive game here QPR had been screwed by an incompetent referee desperate to avoid the wrath of Warnock. Luckily United handed the ball to Paul Ifill and he sent a tame effort too close to Jones who saved, and then caught the chipped rebound from Armstrong. 3-1 would have been game over but suddenly Rangers had hope, and the home fans returned to their favoured pass time of abusing Ifill.
In the fifty sixth minute Lee Cook worked a terrific short corner routine with Furlong and sent a devilish cross into the near post. Nygaard beat Collins to the ball and flicked it into the six yard box where Chris Morgan hilariously hacked into the roof of his own net under pressure from Shittu. Morgan appealed half heartedly for a foul but Mr Friend strapped on a pair and allowed the goal to stand - god I bet that hurt!
He made up for it soon though, booking Steve Lomas for dissent. Montgomery had just hacked Lomas down for the third time in the game without receiving a card and Lomas lost his rag for a moment so he entered the book.
Warnock threw Shipperley on, just for the comedy value I think, but Rangers were comfortable right up until stoppage time. In a desperate attempt to get the home side back into the game Mr Friend penalised Evatt for a foul on Tonge right on the edge of the box. Luckily United turned the responsibility to Unsworth (honestly you couldn't make it up) and he fired into the wall.
Sheff Utd Kenny 8, Morgan 2, Kozluk 3, Collins 3 , Armstrong 4, Ifill 6,Jagielka 5, Tonge 6, Montgomery 5 (Unsworth 63, 1),Akinbiyi 7 (Shipperley 78, 5), Horsfield 5 (Webber 66, 5).
Subs Not Used: Flitcroft, Kabba.
Goals: Akinbiyi 21, Bircham 29 og.
QPR Jones 8, Bignot 6, Evatt 6, Shittu 7, Rose 5, Bircham 7, Cook 8,Lomas 9 (Santos 90, -), Langley 7, Furlong 7, Nygaard 8 (Youssouf 72, 7).
Subs Not Used: Bailey, Baidoo, Thomas.
Booked: Nygaard, Langley, Shittu, Lomas.
Goals: Nygaard 6, Morgan 56 og, Furlong 74.
Ref: K Friend (Leicestershire) 3 - Ahh Kevin, you certainly are not a friend of mine, or any away team for that matter. I find myself writing exactly the same thing about him as I did after the last time he refereed QPR, at Derby last season. Loves an easy ride, loves a home side. Gave many, many questionable decisions against Rangers, booked four when really only Langley deserved it and even that was his first offence. Allowed Montgomery to hack his way through the Rangers team without booking him, failed to spot Ade Akinbiyi's blatant foul for the Bircham own goal and awarded a terribly, disgustingly harsh penalty against Evatt after half time. Can we please have this guy at Loftus Road one day? I want to be on the other side of his cowardice.
Prior to all of that he was in charge of three QPR draws – a 3-3 against Notts County in the Second Division where he awarded the home team a penalty, a 1-1 draw with Stockport at Loftus Road and a 0-0 draw with Derby at Pride Park.
So far this season Friend has shown 35 yellows (3.18 a game) and three reds in 11 matches. Five of those games, and 14 of those cards, have been in the Premiership. His most controversial afternoon so far was when he was placed in charge of the Lancashire derby between Burnley and Preston – PNE led 3-1 with six minutes remaining when Billy Jones was very harshly booked, and therefore sent off, for time wasting. This initiated a collapse that saw Burnley triumph 4-3. Last season he showed 133 yellows (3.91 a game) and seven reds in 34 matches – that included Cardiff’s 3-0 home win against Bristol City, and 5-1 defeat at Newcastle.
Championship >>> Andy D’Urso receives no punishment for his mistake in the Forest v QPR fixture as he is immediately re-listed at Palace v Doncaster. Experienced official Keith Hill has been given the East Anglian derby between Norwich and Ipswich on Sunday.
Photo: Action Images
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