Duncan takes opener - Referee
Tuesday, 1st Aug 2017 16:18 by Clive Whittingham
Scott Duncan gave QPR a penalty and sent a Norwich player off in the opening 30 seconds last time he was at Loftus Road, and he’s back again for Saturday’s visit from Reading.
Referee >>> Scott Duncan (Northumberland), refereed the 2-1 home win against Norwich in November last year.
Assistants >>> Akil Howson (Leicestershire) and Christopher Akers (South Yorkshire)
Fourth Official >>> Daniel Leach (Oxfordshire)
That should really have been 2-0. Caught out by the intensity, feel-good-factor, pace, power and fast start we’d all expected – plus a team selection we hadn’t – Norwich contrived to self-destruct and play their way out of the game in the opening minute. Robinson’s humungous long throw sparked panic in the penalty area, Nedum Onuoha’s presence unsettled John Ruddy, full back Marcus Olsson clawed the goal-bound ball back off the line with two hands, referee Scott Duncan pointed to the spot and issued a red card – the fastest ever on this ground.
It was a surprise to see Chery missing a penalty in training during the week, given his reputation from 12 yards, and maybe this would have been better left to Seb Polter because after an inordinate delay – awarded on 50 seconds it was a good few minutes before the spot kick was actually taken – caused by Olsson’s reluctance to leave the field the Dutch midfielder drilled the ball low and wide of the post.
Norwich had their first half moments. A back-pass of Karl Ready proportions from Nedum Onuoha forced Alex Smithies to rush from his line and deny Steven Naismith one on one. Jacob Murphy shot over, Graeme Dorrans was denied by a flying block on the edge of the area by Jordan Cousins, Naismith was booked by referee Duncan for illegally pinching the ball from Smithies as the keeper attempted to clear – the Scot missed the target with his shot in any case. Dorrans was also booked in first half stoppage time for a wild hack at Joel Lynch for which he may well have seen red had the referee not already sent a Norwich player off.
Murphy’s glorious shot 18 minutes from time beat Smithies all ends up but came back into play off the bar. Dorrans saw another shot bravely blocked by Lynch on the edge of the area, Robbie Brady smacked a direct free kick high and wide after Sandro had taken one for the team and fouled his man after the ball bounced into a dodgy spot off the referee. The visitors were belying their numerical disadvantage, and the nerves in the QPR ranks only grew when Naismith cutely headed home Murphy’s square ball with ten minutes remaining for play.
QPR: Smithies 7; Onuoha 6, Hall 7, Lynch 8; Perch 7, Robinson 7 (Sandro 46, 6); Luongo 7 (Shodipo 66, 6), Cousins 6, Chery 6; Polter 7 (Sylla 82, -), Washington 8
Subs not used: Ingram, Borysiuk, El Khayati, Ngbakoto
Goals: Washington 21 (assisted Chery/Polter), Polter 27 (assisted Chery)
Bookings: Lynch 80 (foul)
Norwich: Ruddy 7; Martin 6, Bennett 6, Bassong 5, Olsson -, Tettey 6, Dorrans 5, Murphy 6, Brady 5; Naismith 7 (Murphy 88, -), Oliveira 4 (Jerome 75, 7)
Subs not used: Whittaker, Klose, Hoolahan, McGovern
Goals: Naismith 78 (assisted Murphy)
Red Cards: Olsson 1 (deliberate handball on the goal line)
Bookings: Tettey 2 (dissent), Naismith 37 (foul), Dorrans 45+3 (foul)
Referee – Scott Duncan (Northumberland) 8 Olsson’s attempt to claw the ball back off the line channel Steven Taylor’s Oscar-nominated performance a few years back and a penalty was clearly the right decision there. I’ll need talking through this double-jeopardy rule I thought we’d brought in this season though. Big decision correct, could perhaps have sent Naismith off as well for a wild challenge before half time but a yellow was about right.
Ostensibly two Championship teams, Burton Albion and Queens Park Rangers had resorted to simply whacking the ball at each other as high, long and hard as they could long before the end. Rangers' approach to the final third of the game, in particular, would have made John Beck blush. I can't ever recall a match where the ball flew all the way from one goalkeeper right through to the one at the other end untouched quite so often.
In the end this match, which had descended into a sort of giant tennis match by the end with the ball flying backwards and forwards over the halfway line, ran to the best part of 100 minutes. Jake Bidwell, attempting to chase back and interrupt another counter attack, fell awkwardly and dislocated his shoulder, necessitating lengthy treatment and an ambulance. Lynch came on for him, and had a late cross shot poked wide – nice to see him, but the fear we're now to have centre backs in both full back positions with Perch and Bidwell injured lingers.
Referee Scott Duncan, in his wisdom, allowed play to continue around Bidwell as Burton pushed for a winner, despite the player being in obvious pain. When play did eventually restart with a Burton corner, Taylor hit the deck in the six yard box as Smithies claimed the ball in the air. This time, despite there being nothing much wrong with the guy – he was up and about within ten seconds of the physio arriving, and ran off the pitch and back on again in order to return to the action promptly – play was suspended just as QPR launched a counter attack downfield.
That rather summed Duncan and his rag tag team of officials up. An early booking for Jamie Ward, for what barely seemed like a foul, set the ball rolling. Then later Ben Turner, already on a card, was allowed to brutally cut through the back of Luongo without being spoken to. Nigel Clough rightly fumed when Nedum Onuoha dumped Turner on the gravel track in the second half – no free kick awarded. The linesman in front of the away end got a series of very obvious decisions wrong from only a short distance away – possibly distracted by the guy standing in front of us who enthusiastically abused him throughout the first half using an array of swearwords and a running theme of him being "bald" and "northern" despite him having a full head of hair and coming from Somerset.
Burton: McLaughlin 6; Mousinho 6, McFadzean 6, Turner 6; Williamson 5 (Myers-Harness 45, 5), Naylor 5, Palmer 6, Irvine 5, Dyer 6; Akins 5, Ward 6
Subs not used: Beavon, Bywater, Miller, Choudhury, Fox, Barker
Goals: Ward 58
Bookings: Ward 25 (not much), Turner 38 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 5, Caulker 6, Hall 5, Bidwell 6 (Lynch 81, -); Henry 5; Luongo 6, Borysiuk 6 (Polter 64, 6), Chery 5, Wszolek 6; Washington 6
Subs not used: Ingram, El Khayati, Shodipo, Sandro, Kakay
Goals: Polter 70 (assisted Luongo)
Bookings: Washington 27 (foul), Bidwell 51 (foul in back play)
Referee – Scott Duncan (Northumberland) 4 Booked for things that weren't a booking, didn't book for things that were; ignored obvious fouls in certain instances, while penalising in others for hardly anything at all which eventually led players on both teams embarrassingly throwing themselves around trying to trick him; didn't stop play for Bidwell's serious injury, then did for Naylor's knock. Depressingly bad, ruined an already awful game further.
As on Tuesday night, and last Saturday, when Ramsey’s substitutions were pilloried it was hard to think of a change he could have made without the crowd reacting negatively. Removing Henry, obviously, but possibly also withdrawing Daniel Tozser. The Hungarian, however, remained on despite getting his own share of barracking for a sixty fifth minute free kick that flew over the bar from ambitious range after referee Scott Duncan had booked Kyle McFadzean for pulling back Emmanuel Thomas. Ramsey’s reward for that faith was a pass of exceptional vision and quality 13 minutes from time which freed Matt Phillips into enough space for him to cut inside and bury a second goal into the far corner. Tozser’s corners, too, were a breath of fresh air and made Rangers look threatening every time they were awarded one.
And more importantly - it worked. Until the failed cross on the hour, Henry had actually had his best game of the season, and was one of the better QPR players on the field - admittedly against severely limited opposition struggling to adapt to a higher level. By the time he was taken off, to ironic cheers, Rangers were 2-0 up and had the game won. His own performance waned after the failed cross, and a yellow card for a combination of a foul and kicking the ball away on the hour was mindless, but he’d played well to begin with in spite of the restless natives.
QPR: Green 6; Onuoha 6, Hall 7, Hill 6, Konchesky 6; Henry 6 (Faurlin 84, 6), Tozser 7; Phillips 6, Luongo 6 (Fer 57, 6), Chery 6 (Hoilett 80, 6); Emmanuel Thomas 7
Subs not used: Doughty, Perch, Smithies, Polter
Goals: Emmanuel Thomas 70 (assisted Onuoha), Phillips 77 (assisted Tozser), Hoilett 88 (assisted Tozser/Hall)
Bookings: Henry 58 (foul/kicking ball away)
MK Dons: Martin 6; Spence 6, McFadzean 5, Kay 6, Lewington 5; Poyet 6 (Maynard 79, 5), Forster Caskey 6, Hall 5 (Baker 67, 5), Reeves 5 (Carruthers 57, 5), Murphy 6; Chruch 5
Subs not used: Hodson, Potter, Powell, Burns
Bookings: McFadzean 65 (foul)
Referee – Scott Duncan (Northumberland) 8 Little to referee but kept control well and the two cards were fully justified.
Against the Foxes he embarked on a one man mission to get Easter Monday off. Eight minutes before half time he went over the ball on Rihad Mahrez and was lucky that referee Scott Duncan only saw that as a yellow card – Karl Henry did him a big favour, holding a crowd of Leicester players at bay and calming the situation so it didn’t appear as bad as it was. Rather than make the most of his let off, the Cameroon full back launched into another ridiculous tackle midway through the second half on Andy King and trooped straight off down the tunnel with a gormless smile on his face.
He was unfortunate in three minutes of first half stoppage time to see a shot deflect just wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s post with the keeper beaten – referee Duncan mistakenly awarded a goal kick instead of a corner – and prior to that he’d been involved in a nice one two with Super Size Niko Kranjcar whose shot was parried over the bar. But mostly he was awful, dragging shots wide and interrupting moves with poor touches before his inevitable withdrawal 20 minutes from time so Bobby Zamora could have a run out.
This latest game at Leicester probably fits into the unfortunate category. Despite another weird and wonderful team selection QPR gave a good account of themselves, particularly in the first half. Niko Kranjcar’s weight gain since the start of the season has been alarming and he’s now built like a cast member from a Croatian re-make of Big Momma’s House. He too was fortunate not to be sent off – booked on the stroke of half time for a foul on Danny Drinkwater and then guilty of a late lunge every bit as daft as Assou-Ekotto’s in the second but referee Duncan didn’t even award a free kick. But he made QPR tick when they had the ball before half time and caused Leicester’s muscular but skilfully limited defence all manner of difficulties. He had an early shot deflected over, another saved by Schmeichel, and teed Maiga up for varying forms of disaster on several occasions.
The closest they came to an equaliser was Suk-Young lobbing a through ball towards an empty goal as Kasper Schmiechel charged towards him. The ball bounced wide but referee Duncan, perhaps a little harshly given that the keep made an honest play for a loose ball, brought play back, booked Schmeichel and awarded a free kick that Kranjcar struck into the wall.
Leicester: Schmeichel 7; De Laet 6, Morgan 6, Wasilewski 7, Schlupp 6 (Moore 77, 6); Hammond 6 (James 67, 6), King 6, Drinkwater 7, Mahrez 7; Nugent 7, Knockaert 6 (Dyer 68, 6)
Subs not used: Taylor-Fletcher, Logan, Phillips, Wood
Goals: Nugent 67 (assisted Drinkwater)
Bookings: Schmeichel 72 (foul)
QPR: Green 6; Simpson 6, Onuoha 7, Hughes 6, Assou-Ekotto 4; Henry 6, O’Neil 5; Benayoun 6 (Wright-Phillips 46, 5), Kranjcar 7 (Morrison 82, -), Suk-Young 6; Maiga 4 (Zamora 72, 6)
Subs not used: Dunne, Keane, Murphy, Donaldson
Red Cards: Assou-Ekotto 77 (two yellows)
Bookings: Assou-Ekotto 38 (foul), Kranjcar 44 (foul), O’Neil 56 (foul), Assou-Ekotto 77 (foul)
Referee – Scott Duncan (Northumberland) 7 I liked him. QPR could certainly have no complaints about the Assou-Ekotto sending off, and in fact he was very generous with Niko Kranjcar who could also have been red carded so a point off for that. He was calm, not swayed by player reaction, gave himself time to think, got the big decisions right.
Duncan showed 113 yellows (2.973) and ten reds last season in 38 games. The Olsson red card at Loftus Road really gave him a taste for it and eight of his dismissals came in a ten game run starting there, including three the week after at Sheff Wed v Preston – though you may recall Preston’s Beckford and Doyle were both sent off for fighting among themselves. He refereed Reading's away wins at Rotherham and Villa and 3-0 defeat at Preston last season.
The season before he finished with 97 yellows and four reds in 37 games – two of those reds coming in his penultimate game at Rochdale v Swindon in League One. Low averages again in 2013/14 with 83 yellows and just three reds shown across 36 games. In fact he showed a single card or fewer in five of his last seven games of the season. His last MK Dons appointment was their 5-1 thrashing of Yeovil in May.
League One >>> Roger East the only Premier League referee sent out on Football league action in weekend one, despite them all being available. He’s got Blackpool v Bradford.
The Twitter @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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