Tierney in charge of Derby trip
Monday, 20th Nov 2017 23:40 by Clive Whittingham
Paul Tierney, known for his encounter with the Loftus Road squirrel but more recently promoted to the Premier League, is the man in the middle for Tuesday’s game at Derby.
Referee >>> Paul Tierney (Lancashire), three Premier League appointments so far this season as he starts to step up to the top flight for the first time.
Assistants >>> Andrew Garratt (West Midlands) and Dan Crook
Fourth Official >>> Peter Bankes (Merseyside)
But a goal down, with a centre half at right back and a central midfielder at right wing, and the current people’s champion Sandro nowhere to be seen, this felt like it was only drifting one way. Smithies nicked the ball of Maghoma’s toes in the area, then Birmingham had good cause to feel aggrieved as referee Paul Tierney stopped play for a Steven Caulker injury – which turned out to be nothing at all – just as Maghoma was about to pull the trigger.
Referee Paul Tierney, a man once intimidated out of control of a match against Leicester on this ground by the Loftus Road squirrel, was proving an interesting sub plot. At a Birmingham free kick in the first half an argument ensued about whether the QPR wall was far enough back – referees have a spray to sort such matters out these days but Tierney preferred a prolonged argument and then yellow card flashed towards, I think, Shodipo instead.
He didn’t get a lot more sensible after half time. Twice Borysiuk committed poor fouls worthy of a booking but was let off, then Grant Hall won the ball fairly in a tackle and was yellow carded. Maikel Koeftenbeld’s wild lunge on Massimo Luongo was shin high and potentially crippling – a booking was deemed sufficient.
Tierney, as we’d long suspected, is an absolute helmet, but his inconsistencies, and QPR’s ongoing improvements, brought the crowd into the game. There’s plenty to criticise elements of the QPR support about at the moment – and they were ready to tear Hasselbaink limb from limb when the fourth official got the numbers on the board mixed up and said he was withdrawing Luongo rather than Shodipo for Polter – but this did at least show that it doesn’t need much excitement, much purpose and much tempo in the game for them to get into things and get behind the team.
When Sylla was finally awarded a free kick – which wasn’t a foul – after being penalised himself several times the cheer was almost as loud as it had been for the goal. Sadly Onuoha blasted over in the subsequent attack and Tierney was soon penalising Grant Hall for having his shirt pulled up over his head by Jutkiewicz at the other end. Smithies made an unbelievable save from a header at point blank range when that was delivered – he certainly wasn’t to know the chance had been flagged offside.
QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 5, Caulker 6, Hall 5, Bidwell 6; Borysiuk 7, Luongo 6; Cousins 5 (Wzsolek 14, 7), Chery 6, Shodipo 6 (Polter 65, 5); Sylla 7
Subs not used: Lynch, Washington, Ingram, El Khayati, Henry
Goals: Caulker 39 (assisted Chery)
Bookings: Shodipo 35 (encroachment), Hall 89 (foul)
Birmingham: Ledgzdins 6; Spector 6, Shotton 5, Morrison 7, Grounds 6; Gleeson 6, Kieftenbeld 6; Davis 6 (Robinson 82, -), Adams 5 (Stewart 82, -), Maghoma 7; Jutkiewicz 6 (Storer 85, -)
Subs not used: Cotterill, Wiggins, Brown, Trueman
Goals: Jutkiewicz 23 (assisted Maghoma/Morrison)
Bookings: Kieftenbeld 68 (foul)
Referee – Paul Tierney (Lancashire) 5 Absolute haemorrhoid of a man.
Konchesky, meanwhile, was just rank poor at left back as he has been for much of the season. A rare positive contribution in the second half saw him successfully interrupt a dangerous looking counter attack with a wholehearted sliding tackle which removed possession from two advancing Forest players who'd outnumbered him – but even that was completed with the use of his forearm to push the ball away, missed by referee Paul Tierney.
Sadly, despite the weight of possession, despite Luongo and Faurlin combining nicely, despite a succession of corners, despite Matt Phillips belatedly starting to deliver from his wing, despite Polter's industry and Washington's sharpness, despite completely dominating the field position… despite it all, the goal didn't come, and the seventh draw of Hasselbaink's brief reign was the only reward. Smithies sprang sharply from his line to seize a late low cross into the area, and Ale Faurlin literally wrestled a man to the ground during another counter attack, to make sure even that didn't go the way of so many others of late.
Forest: De Vries 7; Lichaj 6, Mills 5, Hobbs 6, Jokic 6; Mendes 5 (Burke 55, 6), Mancienne 7, Tesche 6, Osborn 6; O’Grady 5 (Ward 55, 6), Oliveira 7 (Blackstock 88, -)
Subs not used: Wilson, Cohen, Gardner, Evtimov
Bookings: Mendes 35 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 5, Onuoha 6, Hall 7, Konchesky 5; Faurlin 6, Luongo 6; Phillips 6 (Chery 90+3, -), Hoilett 6 (Washington 62, 7), Fer 5, Polter 6
Subs not used: Mackie, Angella, Henry, Tozser, Ingram
Bookings: Perch 71 (foul), Luongo 85 (foul)
Referee – Paul Tierney (Lancashire) 6 Not too bad overall, though he can be very picky. Couple of interesting ones – Matt Phillips beat Jokic at the start of the second half and was deliberately pulled to the floor to stop him going into the area unchecked – no yellow card. Later, Forest broke, and Faurlin literally grabbed an opponent around the waist and rugby tackled him down to interrupt the move. Again, no yellow. Really odd, considering some of the tedious nonsense we’ve seen this referee get cards out for in the past.
Hoilett's hard running set up Austin for a shot that was blocked away – referee Paul Tierney denied home claims for a handball. Phillips brought a ball down expertly in the area and beat Stockdale with a left footed shot only to find Inigo Calderon, inexplicably, back on the line and perfectly positioned to clear.
Hasselbaink's side was fiercely competitive before half time. Paul Konchesky, much maligned for most of the season, produced a solid block on the quarter hour to snuff out one attack, then Sandro heaved himself into a very risky tackle that left James Wilson floored and Brighton seething as Tierney waved play on.
Tierney was once intimidated into losing control of a match on this ground by the appearance of the Loftus Road squirrel, and even without interjections from the local wildlife seemed to have a tenuous grip on proceedings here throughout. Stopping the play far too swiftly for a head injury with QPR attacking riled the home crowd when it turned out there was nothing wrong with the player at all and Brighton were intent on delivering the returned ball 100 yards back down the pitch. Rugby league has a rule that any player going down with a head injury has to go off and stay off for 15 minutes for a mandatory concussion assessment and something similar would soon stop this fairly blatant tactic of getting games stopped when under pressure.
Nedum Onuoha was furious about the first, chasing referee Tierney down the field to remonstrate about an alleged push from Dale Stephens on Sandro just as the Brighton man executed a bicycle kick into the net after a corner had been nodded back across the goal. Sandro may well be playing a lot better than he was, and at least he’s able to complete 90 minutes and has a fully valid work visa these days, but he’s still no kind of “beast” as his nickname suggests and he needed to be far stronger rather than looking for a free kick.
Lewis Dunk was a sought after asset in the summer, coming close to a lucrative move to Fulham before they overpaid for Tim Ream instead. But it was hard to see the attraction here. Apparently still riled by Sandro’s first half tackle he spent much of the second half sliding into foolish tackles, conceding free kicks, berating the referee and so on. It was a surprise it took as long as the seventy fifth minute for a yellow card to come his way for another cynical chop at Junior Hoilett and no shock at all that he failed to see the 90 through.
The red card challenge, when it came, was exactly that. Having overrun a piss poor first touch slightly he decided to launch himself fully five yards across a wet pitch into Ale Faurlin’s standing leg. It was a sickening challenge in any circumstances, spiteful and entirely deliberate, but to do it to a fellow professional with the injury history Faurlin has was as low as it gets. I’m certainly not advocating that Faurlin’s three separate knee explosions qualify him for some sort of touch-rugby status, where he runs around with tags on and people are forbidden from tackling him, but he’s a high profile player, everybody knows the score with him, and to launch into him like that summed up the quality of the man for me. To then give the fourth official a prolonged volley of bile on the way off made it even worse. As did Chris Hughton’s defending the indefensible routine afterwards.
Faurlin, understandably, lost the plot. He owes a nice bottle of something to Brighton’s substitute Andrew Crofts who was first on the scene and immediately dragged him away from Dunk. Had he not done so, Faurlin would have no doubt been sent off as well. Crofts a credit to his club, Dunk less so. In the end Faurlin was booked. As, laughably, was Dunk. It meant a red card, of course, because he’d been a dickhead earlier but it was an absolute bottle job from Tierney and means he’ll now only be banned for one match when he deserved three and the rest. Only a referee as totally out of touch with the sport he's officiating, so totally lacking in feeling for the games he's in the middle of, could deem Dunk's tackle and Faurlin's reaction worthy of the same punishment. I expect him to be in the Premier League double quick - they love wet, by-the-book dweebs like this.
QPR celebrated a comeback well completed but the manager signalled his players back to halfway to push for a winner. That looked shrewd, when Tierney finally strapped a pair on and offered adequate punishment for a second half beset with time wasting by adding seven minutes to the end of the game. Four minutes into that Matt Phillips won the ball back well, moved into space in the Brighton half, unleashed a perfectly struck left footed shot from range, beat David Stockdale all ends up, and grazed the outside of the post.
QPR: Green 5; Perch 6 (Angella 14, 6), Onuoha 6, Hall 7, Konchesky 7; Phillips 7, Sandro 6 (Henry 55, 6), Faurlin 8, Hoilett 7; Fer 6 (Polter 82, -), Austin 8
Subs not used: Smithies, Chery, Emmanuel-Thomas, Tozser
Goals: Austin 65 (assisted Phillips), 88 (assisted Faurlin)
Yellow Cards: Angella 38 (foul), Onuoha 53 (dissent), Faurlin 84 (retaliation)
Brighton: Stockdale 7; Bruno 7, Greer 6, Dunk 5, Calderon 8; van La Parra 7, Stephens 6, Kayal 6, Murphy 6 (Hünemeier 85, -); Wilson 7 (Zamora 78, 6) Hemed 6 (Crofts 79, 6)
Subs not used: Mäenpää, Forster Caskey, Manu, Chicksen
Goals: Stephens 53 (assisted Dunk), van La Parra 55 (assisted Green)
Red Cards: Dunk 84 (two yellows)
Yellow Cards: Dunk 75 (repetitive fouling), 84 (foul)
Referee – Paul Tierney (Lancashire) 5 Apart from the general criticism of his appalling game management, and inability to carry himself with any kind of authority and assuredness, he was specifically poor on several occasions in this. As discussed, to only book Dunk for that second challenge was a bottle job – it was a straight red. He lost the plot at the end of the first half, resulting in Phillips being let off with a yellow card foul and Angella getting a booking for one that wasn’t. He aided and abetted the second half time wasting by stopping the play frequently, for long periods of time, for big grandstanding chats with players. He’s a pain in the arse really. Point added for at least adding a proper amount of stoppage time to the second half.
Burton lined up in two solid banks of four with two strikers and focused on resolutely staying in shape. When QPR did turn past a man and go forwards – not often – they committed a deliberate foul and got back into their shape again. Referee Paul Tierney was incredibly lenient with them over that – particularly in the first half when Taarabt was booted from pillar to post, and at the start of the second half when three quick fire fouls should have drawn at least one card.
QPR had reasonable cause to be aggrieved with referee Tierney at the start of the second half when first Ian Sharps, then half time substitute Robbie Weir, and then defender Phil Edwards all committed deliberate fouls to interrupt Rangers attacks without a card being shown. In Burton’s first attack, five minutes into the half, Danny Simpson did likewise and was immediately booked. The resulting free kick provoked a goal mouth scramble the London side were lucky to survive.
Burton: McLaughlan 6; Edwards 7, Sharps 7, Cansdell-Sherriff 7, Taft 8; MacDonald 7, Mousinho 6 (Weir 46, 6), Palmer 7, Harness 7; McGurk 8 (McFadzean 85, -), Knowles 7 (Blyth 78, 6)
Subs not used: Bell, Beavon, Lyness, Slade
Goals: McGurk 76 (Free kick, won Harness)
Bookings: MacDonald 26 (foul), Mousinho 34 (foul)
QPR: Murphy 6; Simpson 5, Onuoha 6, Dunne 4, Hill 6; Wright-Phillips 1 (Zamora 78, 6), Henry 4 (Mutch 81, -), Faurlin 5 (Fer 59, 3), Hoilett 4; Phillips 4, Taarabt 6
Subs not used: Green, Ehmer, Doughty, Harriman
Booked: Simpson 53 (foul), Dunne 75 (foul)
Referee – Paul Tierney (Lancashire) 6 One of Burton Albion’s tactics – ad I certainly have no problem with this as a lower league team playing a Premier League one – was to commit a deliberate foul allowing the rest of the team to get back in defensive shape one the very rare occasions QPR had actually shown some attacking invention and got past a man. Now that’s fine, but when it’s happened four times in very quick succession – as it did at the start of the second half – an official has little choice but to start showing yellow cards. To keep awarding free kicks with no further recourse encouraged further cynical fouls and, again, that’s fine if you’re consistent with it. To then book Danny Simpson for his first foul of the game, no more serious than any of half a dozen Burton ones that had gone before, was piss poor refereeing from an official we know from experience to be a piss poor referee. Other than that, for the second game in a row, QPR didn’t compete, so he didn’t have a lot to keep control of.
QPR also had good cause to feel aggrieved with referee Paul Tierney's decision, after a long pause and look across to his assistant, to not only award a penalty to Sheff Wed in the thirty fifth minute of Tuesday night's match, but also show a red card to Richard Dunne for apparently upending Leon Best as he cut across in front of him on his way through on goal. Replays suggested Best made a hell of a lot of minimal contact. On another day the Wednesday player may have been booked for diving, or a penalty been awarded with no red card. Tierney, you may remember, the referee who suffered a brain melt and allowed Rangers' fixture with Leicester before Christmas to drift into a chaotic farce because he didn't know how to get the match started again once a squirrel had come onto the field.
Even with all those missing bodies, the team QPR were able to field last night looked, on paper at least, plenty good enough to compete with Sheffield Wednesday. Rarely has there been a defence as experienced as Nedum Onuoha, Clint Hill, Richard Dunne and Aaron Hughes fielded at this level, with Joey Barton and Karl Henry in front of them into the bargain. Junior Hoilett, the mercurial Ravel Morrison and Gary O’Neil backed lone striker Bobby Zamora. Experienced players, expensive players, players a lot better than a 3-0 defeat against the Owls suggests. Players sadly rather too prone to running a white flag up the pole.
And you could see it coming a mile away once Tierney had pointed to the spot and fished the red card out of his top pocket. QPR, en masse, chased the referee across the penalty area, surrounding him, to protest the decision, prolonging the wait for Chris Maguire who nevertheless sent keeper Brian Murphy, making his league debut for QPR three years after signing from Ipswich, the wrong way with a low shot.
The incident didn’t end there though. Joey Barton pursued the official again, chasing him down the pitch to deliver a further volley of verbal abuse. Eventually Tierney showed Barton a yellow card, his twelfth of the season, but still he continued chivying the official, despite Clint Hill’s intervention, and for one moment, when Tierney summoned him back for a second talking to, it looked like he might have talked himself into a red card. The referee showed leniency.
Sheff Wed: Martinez N/A; Buxton 7, Helan 6, Loovens 7, Onyewu 7; Palmer 6, Lavery 7 (Prutton 84, -), Lee 6; Best 7 (Johnson 74, 6), Nuhiu 6, Maguire 7 (Afobe 84, -)
Subs not used: Davies, Coke, Mattock, Llera
Goals: Maguire 35 (penalty won Best), Best 51 (assisted Onyewu), Buxton 71 (unassisted)
Bookings: Buxton 28 (foul)
QPR: Murphy 5; Onuoha 4, Dunne 4, Hill 4, Hughes 3; Henry 4 (Kranjcar 45, 5), Barton 3; Hoilett 5 (Suk-Young 45, 4), Morrison 4, O’Neil 2 (Carroll 83, -); Zamora 2
Subs not used: Keane, Benayoun, Lennox, Maiga
Red Cards: Dunne 35 (professional foul, one match ban)
Referee – Paul Tierney (Lancashire) 7 Having poured over the penalty replays it’s clear Leon Best knows exactly what he’s doing – waiting for the contract against his thigh from Dunne as he runs across the defender’s line and then sprawling to the floor as soon as it came. I still think it looks like a penalty, I think he would have reached the ball had he not gone down hence a goalscoring chance and a red card, so the referee has the decision right. Even if you don’t agree though, remember that the official only gets one look, and that incident, at our end of the ground, looked like a penalty the moment it happened. In the end I actually think the referee was quite generous with QPR, leaving Joey Barton on when he was trying to talk himself down the tunnel with Dunne after that first goal.
Leicester had good cause to believe that referee Paul Tierney should have awarded them a third minute free kick but when the official ignored their pleas Kranjcar squared the ball for Little Tom Carroll, playing deep in midfield alongside Joey Barton, and he should have found the target from the edge of the area. Within three minutes a move had progressed down the QPR right but Gary O’Neil needed to strike his a side footed shot from 18 yards out with more conviction and ferocity to beat a keeper of Kasper Schmeichel’s quality. Kranjcar put a good deal more behind his eighth minute swerver from range but the Danish stopper in the Leicester goal watched the ball all the way and made a smart, safety-first save with both hands.
That feeling grew in tandem with the frustration of the home fans and players. The capacity home crowd cheered and started singing Luis Suarez songs when the Loftus Road squirrel returned for the first time this season for its annual walkabout on the hallowed turf. Such interventions from the cheeky rodent are becoming common place but while the sight of it bounding up and down the field was a source of great amusement to brighten a day of torrential rain and high winds in W12 the response of the referee to the problem affected the rest of the match profoundly.
Tierney stopped the play so the squirrel could be removed, but seemed to have little idea as to how that would happen. An amiable sought of chaos ensued for five minutes while the uninvited guest roamed around the field with none of the officials, nor any of the ground staff, really sure what could be done to get the game started again. Leicester striker David Nugent picked a fine choice from Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks to scare it off into the Ellerslie Road stand, but it inevitably returned immediately. The television cameras were on Tierney, the players were appealing to the official to restart the game, and he completely froze for a full five minutes before the players finally formed a wall to usher it off into the corner and away to safety.
From that point on the referee – a surprise choice, given his relative inexperience, for a match of this calibre in the first place – seemed to lose all control of the game, and confidence in his ability to win it back. Five minutes of standing in the centre of the field at the mercy of the whim of a squirrel, while two teams full of strong characters surrounded him and asked him how on earth he envisaged the situation ending, completely killed him as an authority in the game and he wilted during the remaining 75 minutes.
First Lloyd Dyer, one time QPR loanee, tumbled to earth under contact from Niko Kranjcar hardly serious enough to send somebody so physically stacked to earth in such a fashion. Robert Green punched the resulting free kick clear. Gary O’Neil was booked for a robust, but nevertheless ball winning tackle, midway through the first half. Sadly such full blooded tackles are often punished with yellow cards – that’s the modern game – and all you can ask is for officials can only apply the rules consistently.
Mr Tierney’s timid grasp on proceedings slipped further and further with each passing minute thereafter. In the twenty eighth minute commanding Leicester centre back Wes Morgan came through the back of Charlie Austin to win a ball and no free kick was awarded. Less than 60 seconds later Clint Hill came through the back of Jamie Vardy to win a ball and was penalised. Shortly after that Benoit Assout-Ekotto was penalised for a foul on Dyer which, again, seemed ludicrously harsh. This provoked a prolonged discussion between the referee, QPR captain Clint Hill and Joey Barton who had, since the squirrel incident, clearly decided – correctly – that the referee was an inexperienced official suffering a crisis of confidence who could be bullied and picked on. When Barton sees incompetence or perceives injustice he just cannot help but open his mouth and for the next hour he invested great amounts of time in trying to talk himself into a red card – eventually succeeding five minutes from time.
The poor decisions just kept coming, and coming, and coming. Just after the hour Matt Phillips hit the deck in the penalty area as Moore swept a leg across his path attempting to steal the ball away but missing entirely. A penalty? It would certainly have been soft, but no softer than the two free kicks Tierney had awarded Dyer in the first half. That unwritten rule that challenges inside the area are judged differently to those outside reared its head again when Junior Hoilett, on at half time for the wholly ineffective O’Neil, collapsed under meagre contact from Richie De Laet in the area and when another substitute, Yossi Benayoun, was blocked off by a high arm in stoppage time. Again, not penalties, but no different to a dozen other free kicks Tierney had happily blown for elsewhere on the field.
Leicester had cause for grievance as well. Dyer was certainly hacked to the floor on the edge of the area when in full flight and charging for goal immediately after the Phillips penalty decision – grip rapidly slipping, Tierney didn’t even award a free kick. Leicester substitute Gary Taylor Fletcher – more dad for dads and lads match than professional football these days – scythed down Niko Kranjcar with a tackle from behind as he attempted to carry the ball away from a deep position and not only was no free kick awarded but Tierney was happy for David Nugent to continue with the ball and sting Green’s palms with a low shot. Then Barton clearly fouled Matthew James on the edge of the QPR penalty box and when the referee, yet again, failed to blow the Leicester man launched into an ugly challenge on Danny Simpson that could have potentially brought a red card but only received a booking. The decisions were coming thick and fast by this point and were, almost without exception, wrong on every occasion.
Assou-Ekotto could have few complaints about his yellow card when he hauled down Vardy after being skinned for pace by the impressive Leicester striker, but Joey Barton had good reason to feel aggrieved about his red card seven minutes from time. For a start, QPR should have been preparing to waste another of their own free kicks deep in the Leicester half with Austin clearly fouled by Moore but Tierney saw Yossi Benayoun against five Leicester defenders and a goalkeeper as some sort of perverse advantage and played on. Barton, who’d foolishly been in the referee’s ear for the entire game, was incredulous at this and quickly conceded a free kick for manhandling Taylor-Fletcher’s colossal girth for which he was finally booked. Barton then mouthed off, and appeared to kick the ball into the Leicester man’s gut – how could he miss? – which saw Tierney pulling out a second yellow and red that he would certainly not have shown had it been any other player on the pitch.
You could understand Barton’s frustration with the handling of the game, and the red card itself was harsh and the result of lousy refereeing, but in truth the QPR man had been gagging for a card all game. He behaved poorly, yet again, and let his team down, yet again. Three red cards in his brief and inglorious QPR career so far and all of them have come through not being able to hold his temper when he believes he’s been wronged. Barton really should have grown up by now, and why on earth he deserved a round of applause on the way off is completely beyond me. Thanks Joey. You lost your temper again, and now we’re chasing the game with ten men. Clap. Clap. Clap.
Still, Tierney had mentally evacuated to such an extent by this stage that you’d have sympathised with any player from either side had they ripped his arm out of its socket and beaten him to death with the soggy end of it. Five minutes from time a ball into the School End prompted both referee and assistant to signal for a QPR goal kick only to, after an inordinate delay and public inquiry chaired by Taylor-Fletcher, change their minds and award a corner. Schmeichel, De Laet and Morgan were all warned by Tierney for time wasting during the second half – then at the end of the game he added a lousy three minutes which was hardly a strong deterrent.
QPR: Green 6; Simpson 6, Dunne 6, Hill 6, Assou-Ekotto 6; Barton 6, Carroll 6 (Benayoun 69, 6); O’Neil 5 (Hoilett 46, 5), Kranjcar 7, Phillips 5; Austin 6
Subs not used: Murphy, Henry, Jenas, Onuoha, Traore
Sent off: Barton 83 (two yellows)
Bookings: O’Neil 24 (foul), Assou-Ekotto 66 (foul), Barton 83 (repetitive fouling), 83 (dissent)
Leicester: Schmeichel 7; De Laet 6 (Wasilewski 82, -) Morgan 7, Moore 7, Konchesky 6; Dyer 6, Drinkwater 6, James 6, Knockaert 6; Nugent 7 (Schlupp 78, 6), Vardy 8 (Taylor-Fletcher 68, 5)
Subs not used: Hammond, King, Miquel, Logan
Goal: Vardy 41 (assisted Schmeichel/Nugent)
Bookings: James 65 (foul)
Referee – Paul Tierney (Lancashire) 3 Not, on this evidence, anywhere near good enough, confident enough or competent enough to be handling matches of this importance, this high up the league ladder, with that amount of big characters on both teams. Looked out of his depth.
Priskin on the other hand just continued to frustrate - his hold up play and aerial ability was at times Sunday league standard. However, on 34 minutes he did finally decide to use his size to good effect as he won the penalty for the opening goal. Connolly once again joined the attack down the right flank and delivered a beautiful cross and Priskin was stupidly held by Argyle centre half Kari Arnason. There was no need for the challenge as Priskin looked as though he was struggling to reach the ball anyway. Referee Tierney pointed to the spot and Taarabt grabbed hold of the ball, despite a half-hearted moan by Priskin, and coolly slotted the ball home to give Rangers the lead they richly deserved.
A flurry of yellow cards came and went with Mr Tierney seeming to lose control of the game which was a shame as he produced a near perfect refereeing performance in the first half. Matt Hill was the first Rangers player to succumb to the fussy second half performance, as he was booked for a harsh looking handball. Connolly was then carded for a soft looking foul on Judge.
Plymouth, who had four booked themselves in the second half, were the worst side I have seen at Loftus Road in a long time, they worked hard but had no attacking options resulting in a failure to have any shots on target – but what would you expect from a midfield consisting of Damien Johnson, Karl Duguid and Carl Fletcher.
QPR: (4-4-1-1) Ikeme 7, Connolly 7, Hill 6, Stewart 8, Gorkss 7, Ephraim 7 (Cook 6), Faurlin 7, Leigertwood 8, Taarabt 9 (Buzsaky 6), Priskin 6, Simpson 7 (Vine 5)
Subs not used: Cerny, Ramage, Borrowdale, German
Goals: Taarabt 36 (penalty), Stewart 49 (assisted Taarabt)
Bookings: Hill (handball), Connolly (foul)
Plymouth: (4-5-1) Stockdale 5, Duguid 4, Fletcher 5, Johnson 6, Mackie 6, Arnason 4, Fallon 6 (Mason 6), Barker 5, Sawyer 6, Eckersley 5, Judge 6 (Bolasie 7)
Subs not used:Larrieu, McNamee, Summerfield, Wright-Phillips, Cooper
Bookings: Barker (dissent), Eckersley (foul), Duguid (foul)
Referee – Paul Tierney (Lancashire) 5 During the first period I failed to notice the referee which means he played a blinder in my opinion, the penalty decision was the major talking point and he got that spot on. Second half Mr Tierney was replaced by a fussy, card happy chap who turned a free flowing game into a niggley affair.
A very steady start to the season so far with just 26 yellows and no reds in eight games. Three of those have been in the Premier League – West Brom 0 West Ham 0, Swansea 2 Huddersfield 0 and Newcastle 0 Bournemouth 1.
Last season he booked 110 and sent off five in 32 games. That was led by the seven yellows and one red in the derby between Swindon and Oxford in League One. He refereed Derby three times, a 0-0 draw at home with Aston Villa, a 3-2 win at Wolves and a 2-1 loss at Sheff Wed.
Tierney finished the previous season in charge of a remarkable 8-2 Bristol City victory against Walsall in League One, with two yellow cards topping his season total up to 134 yellows and eight reds, although four of those reds came across the first three and last three games of his season. Eight yellow cards in Fulham’s FA Cup game with Sunderland was his biggest single haul.
Championship >>> Keith Stroud’s pretty awful handling of Leeds v Middlesbrough at the weekend, so soon after returning from suspension, hasn’t stopped him being given another TV game at Ipswich v Sheff Wed.
League Two >>> Trevor Kettle at Port Vale v Mansfield.
Pictures – Action Images
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