Jones in charge of Birmingham trip - Referee
Friday, 15th Dec 2017 15:28 by Clive Whittingham
Premier League referee Mike Jones is in the middle for QPR's six-pointer at Birmingham City on Saturday.
Referee >>> Mike Jones (Cheshire), Premier League referee who hasn’t been in charge of a QPR game since 2015.
Assistants >>> Derek Eaton (Gloucestershire) and Neil Davies (London), gizza lift.
Fourth Official >>> Darren Handley (Lancashire)
Austin’s miss from the spot in the first half proved crucial. A flowing move, easily QPR’s best of the game, worked Matt Phillips into space down the right and when he found Bobby Zamora in the area the hapless James Collins thrust up an arm and diverted the ball away from the danger zone. Even Mike Jones, a referee who carries himself with all the gravitas of the hand towel in the gents toilets of a particularly down-at-heel East End pub, couldn’t miss it and the penalty was duly awarded.
The mood around the place dipped as a result and Austin’s performance level dropped almost as much as his head. Later, in the crucial final moments, Nedum Onuoha, picked at right back, received the ball on a successful overlap and laid the perfect low cross through the goalmouth, cutting out the whole West Ham defence and the goalkeeper in one swing of his right boot. Austin would be on hand to tap in 99 times out of 100. On this occasion, he was stuck back in the crowd and the chance went begging. The mental fatigue caused by carrying the hopes and expectations of an entire club on his shoulders looked to be weighing heavily.
The home side may feel aggrieved not to have won anyway. A second half corner, headed straight up in the air by Bobby Zamora at the back post, caused panic in the West Ham penalty area. Steven Caulker, up from the back, seemed to do little more than jump for a header as the ball dropped and it was subsequently bundled into the net from close range by his recalled centre half partner Richard Dunne. Jones was on hand to award West Ham a free kick – Adrian’s act of running up behind Caulker, attempting to jump over the top of the QPR man and subsequently spilling the ball, deemed a foul. A nonsense decision, but one referees blow for every single time. You’ll never see that goal awarded, for reasons known only to the officials and goalkeepers' union.
QPR: Green 6; Onuoha 6, Dunne 5, Caulker 6, Hill 6 (Yun 64, 6); Phillips 6, Barton 6, Sandro 6, Henry 6; Austin 5, Zamora 5 (Fer 67, 5)
Subs not used: Kranjcar, McCarthy, Taarabt, Isla, Wright-Phillips
Bookings: Austin 76 (foul)
West Ham: Adrian 8; Jenkinson 6, Collins 5, Burke 6, Cresswell 7; Jarvis 5 (Cole 55, 5), Nolan 4, Kouyate 5, Noble 6, Downing 6; Valencia 6
Subs not used: Carvalho, O’Brien, Amalfitano, Poyet, Jääskeläinen, Oxford
Referee – Mike Jones (Cheshire) 5 As usual, allowed himself to be dictated to and influenced by players and managers. Zero presence, zero authority.
When Clint Hill ventured forwards to lend support he succeeded only in picking up a harsh yellow card from referee Mike Jones for stretching to retrieve a loose ball and fouling Adrian Mariappa in the process.
The match, already desperately low on quality, tempo and entertainment, drifted still further in the final half an hour. Puncheon was booked for pushing Hoilett as he ran headlong into oncoming traffic once more. On the one occasion the Canadian winger took his man on the outside, he beat him and was about to run clear into the penalty area along the byline until referee Jones gave a typically poor decision and awarded Palace a free kick for pulling - Hoilett had actually been the one sinned against. Later Jones played on through a clear foul on Clint Hill and Green had to push Puncheon’s shot over the bar. Palace’s first corner of the second half was kicked straight out of play. QPR allowed a long hoof down the field to bounce twice at the heart of the defence and then had to crowd out Bolasie as he threatened to steal in.
Barton’s mixed bag of an afternoon continued with a yellow card for a foul on McArthur in midfield when it appeared he’d merely been pulling a dropping ball out of the sky, unaware of the Palace man’s presence. Jones has as much understanding and feeling for the sport he referees as I do for basket weaving.
QPR: Green 6; Isla 7, Dunne 6, Caulker 7, Hill 6; Hoilett 5, Barton 6, Henry 6, Fer 5 (Vargas 66, 5); Zamora 5 (Phillips 75, 5), Austin 6
Subs not used: Ferdinand, McCarthy, Wright-Phillips, Onuoha, Mutch
Bookings: Hill 45 (foul), Barton 61 (foul)
Palace: Speroni 6; Mariappa 6, Dann 6, Delaney 7, Ward 6; Jedinak 7, McArthur 6, Ledley 6; Zaha 5 (Campbell 67, 5), Bolasie 7, Puncheon 6
Subs not used: Hangeland, Doyle, Hennessey, Thomas, Bannan, Kelly
Bookings: Puncheon 71 (foul)
Referee - Mike Jones (Cheshire) 5 Harsh bookings for Hill and Barton, ridiculous decision to penalise Hoilett in the second half when he’d gone past his man fairly, almost had a hand in a Palace goal by playing on through a foul on Hill to allow Puncheon to shoot. A poor referee for a poor game. That said, I think he got the big decision for the penalty right at the end, though I haven’t seen it again and Palace will no doubt hold that against him as well.
Sure, there were moments of extreme stress and times when QPR simply couldn’t lay a boot on the ball. Referee Mike Jones started the match as he meant to go on, incorrectly giving Chelsea a corner when it was obviously a goal kick inside the first 45 seconds and there followed a terrifying sequence of deliveries from wide areas as Steven Caulker miscued a header narrowly over his own bar and eventually Yun scrambled one clear.
Rangers came out for the second half in a far more positive frame of mind than their hosts. Yun Suk-Young was at the heart of an enterprising attack from left to right that ended up with him deep inside the Chelsea penalty area and preparing to unload a shot until referee Mike Jones, under heavy duress from the home players, awarded a ridiculous handball decision against the South Korean. Hand balls seemed to trouble Jones all day – his interpretation of the rule varying wildly depending on what colour the offender’s shirt was. Chelsea couldn’t have wished for a more gutless official for this fixture. Gimps in Soho fetish clubs have carried greater authority.
Mourinho’s team, unbeaten in 14 games prior to this, had grown complacent. The Portuguese immediately sent on Didier Drogba to bolster his attack, but momentum isn’t a switch you can flick on and off in sport and QPR were buoyant. Sandro drilled a shot in inch wide of the bottom corner via a deflection. Gary Cahill, as slack and off the pace as anybody in blue, misjudged a through ball, pushed it wide of the goal with his hand, and then had to scramble back and block Austin’s attempt on goal. Mike Jones, changing his interpretation of hand ball once again, ignored the initial discretion altogether.
But Rangers looked good for a draw, until the naivety that cost them a win against Liverpool resurfaced with a penalty concession 15 minutes from time. Eden Hazard, going nowhere on the left side of the penalty area with Mauricio Isla well placed to defend any threat, waited for contact from Eduardo Vargas and hit the deck when it came. Had the Chilean gone with shoulder alone, a spot kick would have been scandalous. But he obliged with a right foot as well, making contact with the left leg Hazard had planted there for that exact purpose and, sadly, it was a stick on penalty from that moment. Complain all you like, but it was a naïve challenge that offered Hazard an opportunity, and didn’t need to be made. This is the league we’re in now. Hazard converted it himself.
As a side issue - compare the brutal physical intimidation of QPR players this same referee allowed Wigan to enact as a deliberate tactic to try and provoke a red card from Joey Barton or Ravel Morrison in a play-off semi-final back in May, with this challenge on Hazard that he penalised immediately. Same referee, same away team, entirely different application of the same rules of the game. Jones remains a liability on the Premier League list.
Chelsea reverted back to their original shape, sending on Schürrle for Costa who’d been poor. The German immediately drew another fine save from Green after Jones had played on through another hand ball. The referee’s control of the game had been weak before the penalty and disintegrated thereafter. What looked like an obvious pass back from Dunne to Green went unpunished.
Chelsea: Courtois 6; Ivanovic 6, Cahill 5, Terry 6, Luis 6; Matic 8, Fabregas 7; Willian 6 (Drogba 63, 6), Hazard 7 (Ramires 90, -), Oscar 7; Costa 5 (Schürrle 78, 6
Subs not used: Cech, Zouma, Aké, Salah
Goals: Oscar 32 (assisted Fabregas), Hazard 75 (penalty, won Hazard)
QPR: Green 8; Isla 6, Dunne 8, Caulker 7, Suk-Young 6; Fer 7 (Traore 84, -), Sandro 8, Henry 7, Vargas 6, Hoilett 5 (Zamora 60, 6); Austin 7
Subs not used: Hill, Phillips, Wright-Phillips, Kranjcar, Murphy
Goals: Austin 62 (assisted Fer)
Referee – Mike Jones (Cheshire) 4 The penalty is a penalty. It’s a modern day penalty – Hazard has put his leg across Vargas, waited for the contact, and gone down when it arrived, but it’s not a dive in an Ashley Young sense, it’s just playing the modern game, and it is a penalty. That adds a couple of marks to Jones’ total because, apart from that, he was abysmal. At the start of the second half a ball bounced up and hit Yun Suk-Young’s hand from a quarter of a yard away while he was going forwards on the attack and a free kick was awarded. Later Bobby Zamora charged a clearance down and again a handball was given. Cahill deliberately handled a through ball after misjudging it and nothing was awarded. Matic nudged the ball past Henry in the middle of the park with his hand, no free kick. He missed an obvious pass back to Green from Richard Dunne. He awarded a corner to Chelsea after 30 seconds when it was a goal kick and that set the tone. For ten minutes after the penalty award he literally couldn’t get a decision right. He’s a weak official. He’s refereed for ten years and he’s rarely come close to changing my mind. Easily bowed and intimidated by big personalities, easily panicked in pressure games. A simpering idiot.
The second very obvious instruction from Wigan’s highly rated manager Uwe Rosler was much more rudimentary, and far less admirable. The Latics were obviously sent out to rough up their visitors, particularly the more temperamental, egotistical members of the QPR squad, and see if they really had the stomach for a play-off.
Callum McManaman, who we’re frequently told is “not that sort of player” but who somehow never seems to waste an opportunity to leave an opponent’s leg hanging by its nerve endings launched an eleventh minute hack on Danny Simpson that most referees would have shown an immediate red card for. Mike Jones, dropped down from the Premier League especially for the occasion, didn’t even give a free kick.
The feeling of injustice about that only grew when, ten minutes later, Dunne was caught too high up the field and having been turned by McManaman launched a desperate lunging tackle to deny him a clear run into the penalty area. Unusually for Dunne, he actually executed it well, taking the ball cleanly, and the linesman agreed with that verdict from a distance of two yards away. Jones, from the middle of the pitch, raced across to award a free kick and a yellow card.
Shaun Maloney dived into another bad tackle on Simpson – free kick, no yellow card. James McArthur halted Armand Traore’s run with a forearm to the throat – free kick, no yellow card. When Wigan whipped an early corner over to the back post Clint Hill inexplicably ran towards home defender Rob Kiernan at the near post and elbowed him straight in the back of the head – no penalty awarded. Jones, who was presumably sent down from the top flight because his extra experience of big, pressure matches means he’s able to keep control of such occasions, was fast losing his grip on proceedings.
In the end he could ignore it no longer. McManaman (not that sort of player) cracked into Simpson again and then McArthur came across and nailed Gary O’Neil a split second later. Both players were, finally, yellow carded and had the game been refereed properly it would have been a second booking for both. Moments later Gary Caldwell saw Junior Hoilett making a run off the ball and deliberately stepped across his line and left a shoulder on him. Another booking. Plenty of needle to take from this to the second leg.
The changes did nothing to change the pattern of the game. The needle continued – Shaun Maloney tossing his carcass to the ground and writhing around in apparent agony after what the replays showed to be zero contact at all from QPR midfielder Joey Barton. Credit to Mike Jones for not falling for that pathetic pantomime routine. And chances remained at a premium – O’Neil smacked a 20 yarder hopelessly over the bar after the best QPR move of the second half. Wigan looked like a team that realised a number was being done on them, and ran out of ideas to combat that approach as the second half wore on. A goalless draw looked certain a long time before the final whistle and so it proved.
Wigan: Carson 6; Kiernan 6, Caldwell 6, Boyce 6, Bausejour 7; Perch 7, McArthur 6, Gomez 6, Maloney 6, McManaman 6 (Maynard 76, 6); Fortuné 4 (Waghorn 76, 6)
Subs not used: McClean, Espinoza, Barnett, Al-Habsi, Collison
Bookings: McArthur 23 (repetitive fouling), McManaman 23 (repetitive fouling), Caldwell 32 (foul)
QPR: Green 6; Simpson 6, Onuoha 8, Dunne 5, Hill 6; Traore 6 (Doyle 70, 6), O’Neil 6, Barton 6, Hoilett 6 (Suk-Young 88, -); Morrison 5 (Kranjcar 78, 6), Austin 6
Subs not used: Carroll, Hughes, Henry, Murphy
Bookings: Dunne 22 (foul)
Referee – Mike Jones (Cheshire) 5 Needed to recognise much, much sooner that one of Wigan’s prime tactics was to rough up certain temperamental QPR players and see if they could provoke a reaction and clamp down on it. McManaman and McArthur were essentially given a free swing each at Danny Simpson and Armand Traore when both fouls were worthy of a yellow card and, arguably, McManaman’s a red. That meant they were free to do so again, and both were later booked for equally nasty tackles on Simpson and O’Neil. Also missed a blatant Wigan penalty for an elbow by Clint Hill in the first half. Not his finest night.
When referee Mike Jones harshly adjudged Tom Carroll to have fouled Andrew Shinnie at the midway point of the first half Shinnie planted the resulting free kick on Lee Novak’s head and the centre forward guided the ball flush against the post. Earlier another free kick had been laid square across the face of the area for Elliott to blast over and when they did put the ball in the net, immediately after half time, Spector’s goal – a combination of neat build up play, slack defending, and rank goalkeeping - was ruled out for offside. Soon after Rangers allowed Burke to skip into the penalty area unchecked and deliver a dangerous low cross shot that Richard Dunne had to fend away at the near post.
Novak headed over via a deflection seven minutes after half time and then Kyle Bartley also missed the target with a header from the resulting corner. With 12 minutes left for play Jonathan Spector looked all set to score before crashing to earth in the penalty box. Jones showed a yellow card to the Birmingham man for a dive and the referee was absolutely correct. The logic, often proffered by co-commentators in such situations, wonders why a player would go down deliberately when he might score a goal himself if he stayed up. Your guess is as good as mine, but dive he did and the chance was gone.
Barton struggled just as much as Carroll in the first period. The former Marseille man could have cost QPR the first goal, and been sent off, before half time. First he was caught in possession in his own half and Novak teed up Shinnie for what should, at the very least, have been a shot on target but ultimately ended up at the back of the Lower Loft. Then later he produced an ankle tap trip any rugby league player would be proud of on Tom Adeymi after losing both the initial challenge and then his footing. It was extraordinary that Jones didn’t deem that worthy of a yellow card, and just as well really because four minutes later Barton chopped down Caddis and was booked. Birmingham have good reason to wonder why that second foul didn’t bring a trip to the early bath water for the QPR midfielder.
Nothing wrong with his injury time free kick though. Burn was booked for hauling down Austin and Barton stepped up to crack a fabulous strike over the wall and off the top of the Birmingham post.
The visitors’ frustration with life started to manifest itself in yellow cards late in the game. Burn and Spector were joined in the book by Robinson and Shinnie for fouls.
QPR: Green 6; Simpson 6, Onuoha 7, Dunne 7, Hill 6; O’Neil 7, Barton 6, Carroll 6 (Jenas 82, -), Hoilett 5 (Phillips 39, 5); Zamora 5 (Wright-Phillips 46, 6), Austin 6
Subs: Murphy, Assou-Ekotto, Faurlin, Henry
Goals: Austin 49 (assisted Onuoha)
Bookings: Barton 43 (repetitive fouling)
Birmingham: Randolph 6; Burn 6, Bartley 6, Robinson 6; Elliott 7, Spector 6, Caddis 6, Adeyemi 6 (Lovenkrands 82, -); Burke 7, Novak 6, Shinnie 6 (Ferguson 55, 6)
Subs: Doyle, Ambrose, Reilly, Lee, Brown
Bookings: Shinnie 49 (foul), Spector 78 (diving), Robinson 86 (foul), Burn 90+1 (foul)
Referee – Mike Jones (Cheshire) 7 The big decision of the game – the Spector dive – was correct but Birmingham have good cause to ask why Joey Barton was shown leniency before half time and four of their players were then booked in the second half.
Zamora nodded down for Remy to feed Hoilett after three minutes but his low, left footed shot rolled agonisingly wide of the far post with Mignolet beaten. Then the former Fulham man hit the deck in the area after seizing on a loose back pass but referee Mike Jones rightly paid the half-hearted appeals little attention. Townsend shot over, Hoilett wide and then Zamora – mind somewhat sharper than body at the moment – anticipated a long ball into the area better than Bramble but just couldn’t reach out a toe to knock it into the net.
The Townsend goal changed everything. Redknapp removed Zamora – once again nowhere near as effective in the second half as he had been in the first and probably allowed to continue for 20 minutes too long by his manager – and sent on Jamie Mackie. Hoilett came off for Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jermaine Jenas was introduced for Loic Remy. The emphasis was suddenly on hard work and high tempo rather than creativity and deadlock breaking which suited the R’s down to the ground against an opponent that, once behind, looked like a group of players already planning their summer holidays. N’Diaye was booked for hauling back Remy and Gardner for a late lung on Hoilett – lazy, half-arsed challenges both.
QPR: Green 6, Bosingwa 7, Samba 7, Hill 7, Da Silva 6, Townsend 8, Park 7, Mbia 7, Hoilett 7 (Wright-Phillips 76, 7), Zamora 7 (Mackie 72, 7), Remy 7 (Jenas 79, 7)
Subs not used: Murphy, Onuoha, Granero, Bothroyd
Goals: Remy 30 (assisted Townsend), Townsend 70 (unassisted), Jenas 90 (unassisted)
Sunderland: Mignolet 6, Gardner 6, O’Shea 5, Bramble 4, N’Diaye 5 (Vaughan 77, 6), Larsson 6, Colback 6 (Bardsley 81,-), Johnson 6, Sessegnon 6, Graham 4 (Rose 57, 6), Fletcher 6
Subs not used: Westwood, Kilgallon, Cuellar, Mangane
Goals: Fletcher 20 (assisted Johnson)
Bookings: N’Diaye (foul), Gardner 71 (foul)
Referee Mike Jones (Cheshire) 8 Unfussy and happy to keep out of proceedings. Too quick with his whistle early in the second half, interrupting a four v three break in QPR’s favour to award them a free kick in their own half, but otherwise impressive with very few incorrect decisions.
Taarabt drew a yellow card from Tamas at the midway point of the half as referee Mike Jones recognised the only way West Brom could stop the QPR man was by kicking him. The official was more generous with Mbia, letting him with a warning for a reckless foul on Mulumbu a moment later.
West Brom Foster 6, Tamas 4 (Jara 46, 5), McAuley 7, Olsson 7, Popov 7, Yacob 6, Mulumbu 8, Morrison 8, Odemwingie 6 (Rosenberg 62, 6), Gera 7, Long 8 (Lukaku 68, 6)
Subs: Daniels, Dawson, Dorrans, Fortune
Goals: Morrison 5 (assisted Long), Gera 22 (assisted Long), Mulumbu 85 (assisted Jara)
Bookings: Tamas 25 (repetitive fouling), Mulumbu 90 (time wasting)
QPR: Cesar 6, Bosingwa 3, Nelsen 6, Ferdinand 3, Hill 3 (Traore 46, 5), Mbia 5 (Hoilett 70, 5), Wright-Phillips 4 (Mackie 58, 5), Park 5, Granero 6, Taarabt 7, Zamora 5
Subs: Green, Onuoha, Faurlin, Cisse
Goals: Taarabt 25 (assisted Granero), Granero 90 (unassisted)
Bookings: Park 45 (foul), Mackie 87 (foul)
Referee – Mike Jones (Cheshire) 8 Very few complaints. Can be a little over fussy at times but kept a very good control of this game. I was impressed by the way he never seemed to be more than four or five yards away from every decision he made – always a good sign of a confident referee on his game.
Rangers’ first visit to the far end of the ground came courtesy of some hard running from Jamie Mackie who was terribly unfortunate not to be awarded a free kick on the edge of the Sunderland area for what appeared to be a clear foul. Referee Mike Jones ignored his pleas but was more on the ball three seconds later when Samba Diakite lunged in on Jack Colback.
It annoys me to see players complain about early yellow cards on the basis that it is their first foul of the match because it’s totally irrelevant whether it’s the first or twenty first, similarly referees who fail to show cards for bad early challenges simply because they’re committed after seven minutes and not 77 are a source of irritation. But here I thought Diakite was harshly done to. This was a run-of-the-mill foul; a slightly mistimed tackle early in the game with no malice or harm done. Award the free kick, let Sunderland get on with the game and keep the cards in your pocket.
By half time there had been five yellow cards in a match where I can scarcely remember a bad foul being committed. Jones is a referee without the confidence in his own man management ability to control a game without the use of a notebook and card. Compare his performance here to the two Howard Webb has treated us to at Loftus Road this season and the difference is stark. Diakite was walking on egg shells from that point on, and wasn’t nearly as effective as he had been on Wednesday night as a result. Mark Hughes took him off him early in the second half as a sending off avoidance technique which on this occasion said more about the official than the player.
At the other end Jamie Mackie saw a near post header deflected over but referee Jones gave a goal kick, and then Young was booked for tripping McClean when another referee on another day may have settled for a word on the run.
Zamora shot over from the edge of the area after Taiwo had initially released Taarabt down the left flank but the former Fulham man was then involved in a rather more unsavoury incident on the half hour. After Taarabt had found only the Sunderland wall with a presentable free kick following a foul on Jamie Mackie Rangers turned to the match officials with another appeal when Zamora theatrically, and to be honest somewhat embarrassingly, collapse to the ground in the penalty area. Referee Jones rightly paid no attention to the appeals and play continued. Well, most of the players continued I should say.
Rangers almost responded immediately through a combination that had worked well for them during the week – Taiwo crossing for Cisse to head towards goal – but Rangers’ tattooed French forward saw his effort blocked behind for a corner. Time still for another yellow card, Wayne Bridge got it for fouling Luke Young, and then they mooched off for the half time oranges.
Mr Jones’ propensity for booking players as a first recourse for any slight misdemeanour forced Mark Hughes to replace Diakite with Akos Buzsaky ten minutes into the second half by which timeAdel Taarabt had drilled a free kick into the wall and David Vaughan had hammered a long range shot over the bar. Diakite should have been taken off early on his debut against Fulham but was left out there long enough to receive a red card for a one man human wrecking-ball operation and although he was far more reserved here Rangers were working with a much stricter referee so the decision was the correct one. The problem was, while all the focus and concern had been on Diakite’s discipline one of the other mentalists in the visiting team’s line up was preparing to unleash his own brand of rank stupidity on affairs.
Immediately after the Diakite substitution a foul on Frazier Campbell just outside the penalty area gave Craig Gardner the chance to crack a pearler against the underside of Paddy Kenny’s bad, down on the right side of the line and away. It was an astonishing strike that snapped the crowd, and the players, out of their slumber just long enough for Djibril Cisse to stake a claim for the Moron of the Season award. With play suddenly broken and frantic he overran possession and then launched into a ludicrous, air born, two footed attempt to retrieve the situation as Frazier Campbell stole the ball from him. It was a red card all day long, regardless of who the referee was, and Jones rightly had no hesitation.
Sunderland: Mignolet 6, O'Shea 6 (Campbell 27, 6), Kyrgiakos 6, Turner 6, Bridge 6 (Meyler 70, 6), Gardner 7, Vaughan 7, Colback 7, McClean 8, Bendtner 7 (Elmohamady 82, -), Sessegnon 8
Subs Not Used: Gordon, Wickham, Kilgallon, Ji
Booked: Kyrgiakos (unsporting conduct), Bridge (foul)
Goals: Bendtner 41 (assisted McClean), McClean 70 (unassisted), Sessegnon 76 (assisted Vaughan)
QPR: Kenny 6, Young 5, Onuoha 4, Ferdinand 5, Taiwo 6, Taarabt 6 (Wright-Phillips 60, 5), Derry 6, Diakite 6 (Buzsaky 52, 5), Mackie 6, Zamora 5 (Bothroyd 82, -), Cisse 5
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Hill, Gabbidon, Barton
Sent Off: Cisse 55 (serious foul play)
Booked: Diakite (foul), Young (foul), Zamora (unsporting conduct
Goals: Taiwo 79 (free kick, won Zamora)
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire) 5 Set the tone for his refereeing performance by getting the yellow card out very early for fouls he could easily have punished with just a free kick. He needs to either trust his man management skills, or learn some if he doesn’t have any, rather than trying to clamp down on a game and suffocating it in yellow cards. We finished this match with five yellow cards and a red and really there was only one bad tackle in the game. Credit to him for a no-nonsense, swift and absolutely correct decision on the red card but I’d question the decision he reached and the cards he handed out over the Zamora and Kyrgiakos incident.
The appointment of Cheshire official Mike Jones to referee this game was the source of some conjecture prior to the kick off. Jones is not kind to away teams, producing 12 of his last 14 red cards for players on visiting teams and upsetting QPR by allowing a winning goal for Chelsea in 2009 League Cup tie between the teams despite a clear foul on Wayne Routledge in the build up. He’s not terribly popular in Stoke either – this was his first visit to this ground since his officiating allowed an FA Cup quarter final here against West Ham last season to descend into a farce of ignored handballs and soft penalty awards.
He didn’t have to wait long for his first incident of note. In the opening two minutes the first Stoke corner of the afternoon dropped to Jermaine Pennant on the edge of the penalty area and he crashed to earth claiming a trip from Joey Barton. The replays showed that Barton, despite doing his best to avoid the collision, had indeed caught Pennant’s trailing leg but on this occasion I can see, given the theatrical way the player went to ground, why Jones ignored the extensive appeals from home players and fans. Stoke would have another much more blatant penalty appeal waved away in the second half.
Fuller’s first action was to execute a horror tackle on Armand Traore over by the dug outs. Fuller’s disciplinary record is chequered to say the least and this looked like a red card from the moment both his feet left the floor – however a split second before he did so referee Jones had actually blown in his favour which resulted in the ridiculous situation where a QPR player was writhing in agony on the ground after a dreadful tackle on him, but Rangers were left to defend a free kick with ten men. Thankfully Traore was fit to continue.
Stoke should have been handed a chance to equalise from the penalty spot in the eighty second minute. Another long throw was allowed to drop in the heart of the QPR penalty box and, rashly,Joey Barton went to ground and hacked through the back of Robert Huth as he attempted to control the ball. It looked a stone wall penalty from the moment it happened but Mike Jones, for the second time in the game, waved the appeals away and QPR had survived. Huth responded by wrestling Barton to the floor as the ball was worked clear – an incident that was seen by World Cup final linesman Darren cann and signalled for but there was an agonising moment as the referee came across to speak to him where QPR wondered whether in fact he was going to draw Jones’ attention to the original offence.
A poor decision from the referee who was perfectly placed to see what was a clear and obvious foul but then given that Pulis, his players and the Stoke fans appeal long, loud and bitterly over every single decision in every single game maybe there’s an element of boy crying wolf about all of this. A member of the Stoke coaching staff was sent from the touchline in the immediate aftermath.
The incident only served to increase Stoke’s persecution complex. Manager Tony Pulis criticised referee Mike Jones afterwards, saying referees arrive at the Britannia Stadium with a pre-conceived idea of what to expect from the home side. Pulis, and Stoke’s players and fans, also rail against criticism of their style of play but the facts were pretty stark on Saturday – Stoke completed just 118 successful passes in 97 minutes of football. That’s a Premiership team managing little more than one successful pass per minute. The criticism of them is wholly valid – they were awful to watch here and well beaten.
The sense of injustice manifested itself in the central midfield area where Barton won the ball with a firm but fair tackle and was then immediately hacked down by Rory Delap who was rightly carded.Heidar Helguson also blotted his copy book slightly with a yellow card for a foul on Wiilkinson. The bad feeling escalated when Barton went across to take a late QPR corner and was pelted with coins from the home end – it wouldn’t be a QPR game in Stoke without a lashing of bad feeling and poor behaviour in the stands.
Stoke: Sorensen 6, Wilkinson 5, Shawcross 6, Huth 6, Higginbotham 6, Pennant 5 (Fuller 68, 6), Whitehead 5 (Whelan 85, -), Delap 5, Etherington 6, Walters 7, Crouch 6 (Jones 65, 6)
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Wilson, Upson, Palacios
Booked: Wilkinson (foul), Shawcross (foul), Delap (foul), Fuller (foul)
Goals: Walters 8 (assisted Crouch), Shawcross 64 (assisted Crouch)
QPR: Kenny 6, Young 7 (Orr 77, 6), Ferdinand 6, Gabbidon 7, Hill 7, Wright-Phillips 7, Barton 7, Faurlin 8, Traore 8, Mackie 7, Helguson 9
Subs Not Used: Derry , Buzsaky, Smith, Hewitt
Booked: Barton (handball), Helguson (foul)
Goals: Helguson 22 (assisted Traore), 54 (assisted Barton), Young 44 (assisted Mackie)
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire) 6 Stoke will point to two penalty decisions – both of which could easily have been given, the second on Robert Huth should definitely have been awarded. It’s mpossible to mark a referee highly with two such big decisions made incorrectly, although I sympathise with him on the first one because Pennant looked like he’d dived at normal speed. Should have taken action against Fuller for a dire tackle on Traore on the second half even though he’d already awarded a free kick to Stoke. Seemed to struggle to keep a handle on the game throughout.
Premiership referee Chris Foy had been due to take charge of this game but was sadly replaced at late notice by the much fussier and less talented Mike Jones who had an absolutely nightmare on this ground last season in a Premiership match between the Clarets and Hull City. The Cheshire official’s first involvement in a game that would go on to produce 27 free kicks and seven yellow cards saw him buy a theatrical fall from Chris Eagles on the edge of the area and award a set piece which Tyrone Mears whipped over the wall and into the away end.
Eagles was substituted at Loftus Road earlier this season after being booked for a dive in the penalty area and subsequently losing his rag – as this game went on Eagles and Adel Taarabtproduced a portfolio of falls so extravagant Tom Daly would have been on his feet applauding had he been in attendance. A shame, because they are both outstanding players who showed flashes of true quality in this game.
Eagles was on the floor again in the twenty first minute, arms outstretched and face turned towards the referee before he’d even hit the ground in the traditional style, but even the whistle happy Mr Jones wasn’t going to award him a penalty for that and nor should he have done as Clint Hill cleanly took the ball as the Burnley man entered the penalty area. A minute later, more time spent rolling around on the grass brought the first yellow card of the game for Faurlin who had given Eagles something to dive about close to the touchline.
This free kick sparked the first prolonged period of Burnley pressure with Matt Connolly forced to head it behind for a corner which Graham Alexander dropped plum onto the back post forcing Kaspars Gorkss into another clearance behind. The third set piece was taken by Fox and although it was initially cleared he re-gathered and delivered deep into the heart of the penalty area where Carlisle met it powerfully but headed wide. Carlisle has made a habit of playing well against QPR since leaving, but looked nervous and heavy legged in this game when asked to do anything other than win ball in the air.
Burnley continued to come into the game as the half hour approached. Bradley Orr followed Faurlin into the referee’s book for a rough shoulder charge on Jay Rodriguez and Kenny needed two attempts to save a low shot from the Burnley youngster down in the bottom right hand corner – although that was the only serious save he had to make all afternoon. At the other end Adel Taarabt tried his luck from similar range and having set off early Grant was lucky that a small deflection carried the ball into his midriff rather than beyond him into the net.
The game had been niggly to this point, not helped by the overbearing and over fussy refereeing style, but it escalated into out and out nastiness five minutes after the break. Hulse was involved again to begin with, collapsing to the ground on the corner of the penalty box clutching his face. This was right in front of the away end, and Hulse clearly felt he had been elbowed by Clarke Carlisle off the ball, but nobody around me saw anything, and neither did the referee.
While Hulse was being treated an argument was taking place on the halfway line between Adel Taarabt, Bradley Orr, Michael Duff and Graham Alexander who, as usual, was never more than ten yards away from the referee offering advice throughout the game. Taarabt was clearly annoyed at the suggestion that he should return the ball to Burnley upon the resumption as QPR had possession when the game was stopped. Referee Jones arrived on the scene, told Taarabt he would indeed be expected to return the ball to Burnley and the Moroccan promptly thumped it out for a Burnley throw down by the corner flag and ordered his team mates to hem the home side in. The Burnley fans reacted with fury, as you would expect, and Neil Warnock actually took their side and lambasted Taarabt for his conduct before ordering Vaagan Moen to receive the throw in and play it back to Lee Grant which he did.
The bad mood was set though and for the next ten minutes Burnley players formed an orderly queue awaiting their turn to have a go at kicking QPR’s captain out of the game. Taarabt produced a couple of dives worse than anything even Eagles had managed that were rightly laughed off by the referee, but also gifted spectators the moment of the match with a sublime piece of control on the turn on halfway that brought a high clearance under his spell and took three Burnley players out of the equation with one fluid movement. It was worth the entrance fee alone.
Having dominated for such long periods of the game it would have been devastating to lose the game in injury time. Paddy Kenny was lucky to escape fumbling a late corner without being punished, and the R’s were indebted to Shaun Derry for a superb covering tackle on Eagles as the Burnley man raced towards the penalty box with men up in support. Going the other way Jack Cork fouled Derry to collect the seventh yellow card of a feisty, but over refereed, encounter.
Burnley: Grant 7, Mears 6, Carlisle 6, Duff 6, Fox 6, Elliott 6, Alexander 7 (Edgar 86, -), Cork 7, Rodriguez 6, Iwelumo 6 (Thompson 68, 5), Eagles 7
Subs Not Used: Jensen, McDonald, Bikey, Wallace, Easton
Booked: Duff (foul), Alexander (foul), Fox (foul), Thompson (foul), Cork (foul)
QPR: Kenny 6, Orr 6, Connolly 7, Gorkss 7, Hill 6, Faurlin 7 (Clarke 81, -), Derry 8, Smith 6, Vaagan Moen 7, Taarabt 8 (Hall 90, -), Hulse 6 (Helguson 81, -)
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Cook, Borrowdale, German
Booked: Faurlin (foul), Orr (foul)
Referee: Mike Jones ( Cheshire ) 5 Whistle, whistle, whistle, card, card, card. Usually for a match with seven yellows I find myself writing that it was never a seven card match – I think this one was, and I can’t argue with any of the cards given, but Jones referees like a fussy old woman. He just whistled for absolutely everything and disrupted the match at every opportunity. Having not seen the penalty incident again since I thought it was in the area at normal speed. Allowed Graham Alexander to get into his face after every decision, and let him get away with several bookable offences before he did actually receive a card.
Coventry are the fifth side to come to W12 this season and escape with a draw, and with them probably more than anybody else ‘escape’ was the operative word. Chris Coleman, such a classy and attractive central defender in his playing days, is now reduced to scraping points from barrel bottom performances based around cynical tactics of the absolute worst kind. City wasted time from the first minute even when not in front, hurrying their clearances only during the brief period QPR actually led the game, violently scythed down any QPR player they could get near, hassled the referee, hoofed the ball down the field whenever they had it and threatened exclusively from set pieces.
Leigertwood drilled a shot just wide of Westwood’s post and then on the hour Taarabt beat the keeper all ends up with a magnificent 20 yard lob that agonisingly bounced back into play off the cross bar. That was Cantona like in its execution and would have been just rewards for Taarabt and QPR whose play when in possession was a joy to behold at times. Taarabt had another shot wide and Routledge was denied a clear run on goal after more expansive passing from Faurlin by van Aarnholt who appeared to pass the ball back to Westwood as he won it but the keeper picked the ball up without action from referee Mike Jones. Jones was forced to produce a yellow card for first van Aarnholt and then Cork who both hacked down the insatiable Taarabt.
Thereafter there was only one team in it. Coventry dropped very deep and started to employ cynical tactics that included to flagrant time wasting for which goalkeeper Westwood was eventually booked. In fairness to the keeper the rules do still stupidly allow keepers to pick the side they take their goal kicks from and that was what he did every single time. Why that is I do not know - you cannot take corners from whatever side you like and the only thing this achieves is giving keepers a chance to waste time.
With ten minutes to go Magilton reinforced our new ‘what we have we hold’ approach to the game by putting Steven Reid on for Taarabt. Again, this made no sense to me. Taarabt head caused Coventry problems all afternoon and as they pushed forwards looking for an equaliser he was sure to get more chances to do so. From not making sense initially the change was rendered a complete disaster as Coventry scored an equaliser immediately after it was made. Buzsaky stupidly left a leg in on Stephen Wright to the right of the QPR penalty area and the full back gratefully accepted the gift and hit the deck. Michael McIndoe whipped the free kick into the near post and with the defence nowhere to be seen and Cerny flapping wildly Richard Wood was able to steal in and equalise.
With Taarabt gone it may have made sense to introduce Patrick Agyemang especially as City were quickly reduced to ten men. Stephen Wright was the man to go, for the second consecutive season at Loftus Road , for yet another crude, cynical and totally deliberate foul on Akos Buzsaky. Wright, who saw fit to throw his captain’s armband at the referee on the way off, epitomised everything that was bad about City – quite happy to kick his way through a more talented opponent in the name of getting a draw. Clearly by his reaction, and from what Coleman said afterwards, they didn’t believe he should have been sent off. I’m forced to wonder just how often they feel Coventry players should be allowed to physically assault opponents without picking up cards? You could not wish to see a more blatant double yellow red card than this and apart from his fouls on Leigertwood and Buzsaky that drew cards he got away with numerous others. No amount of Morrison trying to hold the referee’s arms down by his side could change his mind and he was certainly lucky to get away with that himself.
QPR: Cerny 6, Leigertwood 6, Hall 5, Connolly 5, Borrowdale 7, Watson 8, Faurlin 9, Buzsaky 6, Taarabt 8 (Reid 80, -), Routledge 7, Simpson 7
Subs Not Used: McWeeney, Ramage, Agyemang, Pellicori, Gorkss, Williams
Goals: Simpson 35 (assisted Faurlin), Buzsaky 69 (unassisted)
Coventry: Westwood 7, Wright 6, Wood 6, Barnett 6, Van Aanholt 7 (Clarke 72, 6), Bell 6 (Eastwood 74, 6),Gunnarsson 5 (Madine 80, -), Cork 6, McIndoe 6, Morrison 6, Best 7
Subs Not Used: Ireland , McPake, Cranie, Grandison
Sent Off: Wright (two bookings)
Booked: Wood (foul), Van Aanholt (foul), Westwood (time wasting), Cork (foul), Wright (foul), Wright (foul)
Goals: Best 16 (assisted Van Aarnholt), Wood 81 (assisted McIndoe)
Referee: Mike Jones ( Cheshire ) 7 Could easily have sent more off here to be honest as Coventry were brutal at times. In the end impossible to argue with any of the cards he handed out. Few other mistakes made. The main problems were caused by the two linesmen – one who felt everybody was offside all the time, the other who didn’t seem very sure what offside was.
On Wednesday we needed a referee to do his job. We needed Premiership referee Mike Jones to forget where he was, forget he was refereeing Chelsea , and do his job. To see that Wayne Routledge was fouled, or that Joe Cole had handled the ball, in the lead up to the deciding goal. He didn’t, Chelsea scored, QPR could not. It was not to be. Rangers fans were left to claim moral victories for the way they played, the way the fans sang, or the way Chelsea had to send on the big guns to see them through. No points, or cup progress, for moral victories I’m afraid guys - but plenty of reason to be proud of our players for having a go in the face of stiff opposition rather than sitting back and waiting for the inevitable.
Despite there being no injuries, no goals and no substitutions referee Jones added a minute onto the first half officially, and then played more to allow Chelsea to take first a free kick and then a corner. The free kick was a harsh call, given against Martin Rowlands for what looked like honest endeavour amongst a crowd of opponents. Belletti hit a trade mark thunder bolt over the wall and Heaton had to come across and bat the ball away for a corner. Time had long since expired but Chelsea were allowed to proceed anyway – Gorkss got the crucial clearance in to prevent heartbreak right on half time.
Rangers then had reason to feel aggrieved with the referee again as Jones ridiculously punished Simpson for a perfectly fair shoulder to shoulder challenge with Mikel short of halfway, and then immediately awarded another more clear cut one on the edge of the penalty box. As usual in these situations Frank Lampard stepped forward to take it and as usual he just pelted it hard into the wall at about waist height. Now I know full well that there examples of spectacular Frank Lampard free kicks knocking around but is it only me that thinks his technique of simply walking up and walking it seems to work once in a hundred attempts, if that? When the likes of Belletti are on the field should this agricultural method of taking free kicks even be given the time of day? Who cares is the answer to that, certainly not me on Wednesday night, but it is an irritation of mine when watching Chelsea as a neutral.
With their next attack Chelsea took the lead, and again Mike Jones was at the centre of things. Tearing into the Chelsea half with the ball at his feet Wayne Routledge was clearly tripped as he danced across the face of the penalty area. He stayed on his feet, possibly with a very harsh booking for diving at Scunthorpe still fresh in his mind, but lost the ball. Instead of bringing play back as he should Jones waved play on, Chelsea stormed down the other end and with suspicion of a handball from Cole in the build up and then offside when the pass was finally played Kalou was able to slot home the opening goal off the base of the far post past the helpless Heaton. QPR with very good reason to feel aggrieved.
Possibly in an attempt to make amends Jones then presided over a couple of soft QPR free kicks around the Chelsea penalty area and they in turn resulted in a series of corner kicks. However as with the open play opportunities to deliver in the first half the final ball was often found wanting with only a well flighted Buzaky corner that looked to be landing plum on the head of Kaspars Gorkss steaming in at the back post before it was cleared really troubling the hosts. When in advanced wide positions Chelsea still looked to pick out team mates, whereas QPR in similar circumstances were happy every time to play a percentage ball into the box with nobody in particular in mind. It was another one of those small differences that added up to a cup exit for Rangers.
Chelsea : Hilario 7, Ivanovic 7, Ferreira 6, Hutchinson 7 (Terry 77, 7), Belletti 7, Malouda 6 (Lampard 46, 8),Zhirkov 7( A Cole 69, 7), Mikel 8, J Cole 7, Borini 7, Kalou 7
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Essien, Matic, Bruma
Goals: Kalou 52 (assisted Cole)
QPR: Heaton 8, Leigertwood 8, Stewart 8, Gorkss 8, Borrowdale 7, Routledge 7, Rowlands 9 (Ephraim 73, 7), Faurlin 8, Buzsaky 7, Vine 7 (Taarabt 66, 7), Simpson 7 (Pellicori 73, 6)
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Ramage, Mahon , Agyemang
Referee: Mike Jones ( Cheshire ) 4 It is often a bitter accusation levelled at referees in defeat in these matches that a Premiership referee looks after Premiership players. Mike Jones did little to distance himself from that idea on Wednesday. The Chelsea goal could have been disallowed for three separate offences, some of the free kicks given to the host were soft in the extreme and some of the things QPR were left to suffer with no free kick, including a horrible tackle from behind on Jay Simpson just before he went off, were astonishing. Ably assisted on the line by Mike Cairns who turned in just about the worst performance I have ever seen from an assistant referee.
The only real incident of note in the whole half came five minutes before the break – a first yellow card of the season for Kaspars Gorkss. The foul on Euell looked fairly innocuous and to me it looked like Gorkss had been booked by referee Mike Jones, steady but a little fussy throughout, for kicking the ball away. A very harsh card indeed in my opinion – Gorkss can count himself very unfortunate.
Southampton started the second half with two quick fire bookings as Jones got a little bit whistle happy. James and McGoldrick for fouls on Ephraim and Lopez respectively. Whether it was these cards or the lack of threat from QPR but the home crowd started to stir on both sides of the away end which, combined with plenty of noise from the back of the away end, made for quite a decent atmosphere despite the swathes of empty seats around the ground.
Southampton responded with a couple of half chances – a spectacular diving headed clearance from Stewart denied Saganowski a sight of goal and then Euell was denied at the back post by a well timed block from Ramage who, as on Tuesday, played reasonably well. Stewart became the second QPR player to be booked just after the hour for pushing Kelvin Davis as he tried to get a quick clearance from a corner away down the field – the home crowd bayed for a red card initially and Stewart was clearly riled about something but Jones played safe with a yellow.
Jones had two penalty appeals to deal with in the second half. The first was for a foul on Blackstock by Saeijis that looked to me like it could easily have brought a spot kick but was waved away. Later in the day when Bradley Wright Phillips had been brought on he too hit the deck in the penalty area but brought little response from the match official – that one was too far away for me to judge. Sorry, turned into Arsene Wenger for a moment there.
Southampton: Davis 6, James 6, Saeijs 6, Perry 6, Skacel 7, Lallana 6 (Thomson 74, 6), Gillett 6, McGoldrick 7, Surman 6, Euell 5, Saganowski 5 (Wright-Phillips 77, 6)
Subs Not Used: Forecast, Wotton, Liptak
Booked: James (foul), McGoldrick (foul)
QPR: Cerny 6, Ramage 7, Stewart 6, Gorkss 7, Connolly 6, Ephraim 6 (Taarabt 78, 7), Miller 5 (German 71, 6), Lopez 6 (Mahon 87, -), Leigertwood 6, Routledge 5, Blackstock 5
Subs Not Used: Hall, Alberti
Booked: Gorkss (kicking ball away), Stewart (obstructing goalkeeper)
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire) 6 Didn’t do too much wrong but got a little bit whistle happy in the second half to the point where he was blowing it every thirty seconds at one point which, in a game of already poor quality, became very irritating. I did not agree with Gorkss’ booking but the others were fair enough. Blackstock’s penalty appeal looked like a reasonable shout to me.
For details of Jones' QPR games prior to that date please click here.
Jones has been in charge of 13 games so far this season, showing 49 yellows and one red along the way. Seven of those games have been in the Premier League and this will be his fourth Championship outing. He has shown five yellows in a game on six occasions, that’s his top haul in a game apart from the five yellows and one red at Bristol City v Cardiff.
Last season, having started with 12 yellows and two reds in his first two games, he finished with 120 yellows and five reds in 30 games. One of those reds came in Birmingham’s crucial 2-0 win against Huddersfield Reserves in April which helped secure their Championship status – Blues’ striker Che Adams was dismissed in the first half.
League One >>> Keith Stroud down at Southend v Bradford a much needed demotion which will hopefully stick for a few weeks.
League Two >>> Trevor Kettle has Exeter v Stevenage – women and children into the lifeboats first.
Pictures – Action Images
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