Martin in charge of Boxing Day game - Referee
Wednesday, 23rd Dec 2020 14:25 by Clive Whittingham
Steve Martin, in charge when QPR beat Swansea 5-1 a year ago, is back at Loftus Road for a league meeting between the two on Boxing Day.
Referee >>> Steve Martin (Beverley Hills), was part of an ensemble cast for unsuccessful 1994 Christmas movie Mixed Nuts, a dark comedy directed by Nora Ephron, based on the 1982 French comedy film Le Père Noël est une ordure.
Assistants >>> George Byrne (Suffolk) and Sam Lewis
Fourth official >>> Craig Hicks (Surrey)
There wasn’t enough goal threat to go with it. The balance in the three behind Lyndon Dykes isn’t right, with Amos employed at ‘ten’ more for his pressing ability without the ball than anything he does in attack, meaning Dykes is at times isolated without support, with Ilias Chair struggling to influence the game as much as he can and should from wide left. But you don’t see a team this superior in a game without making it pay with a goal too often and sure enough when Chair took a quick free kick and Osayi-Samuel read the intention it was all too much for a slow and leaden footed Kyle McFadzean, who struggled at this level previously with Burton Albion, and his clumsy tackle drew a penalty from Three Amigos star Steve Martin after some considerable period of thought. Lyndon Dykes reloaded the flamethrower and Marosi very sensibly got out of the way.
Coventry: Marosi 6; Ostigard 6, McFadzean 6, Hyam 6; Dabo 7, Shipley 6 (Sheaf 90, -), Giles 7, Allen 7, Hamer 7; Godden 7, O’Hare 7
Subs not used: Mason, Rose, Pask, Walker, Bakayoko, Billson
Goals: Godden 44 (assisted Giles), O’Hare 50, McFadzean 84 (assisted Hamer)
Bookings: Shipley 60 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 5; Kakay 5, Dickie 5, Barbet 5, Wallace 3; Carroll 5 (Smyth 71, 5), Cameron 5; Osayi-Samuel 6, Amos 5 (Ball 82, -), Chair 5 (Thomas 82, -); Dykes 5
Subs not used: Kane, Oteh, Masterson, Kelly
Goals: Dykes 41 (penalty, won Osayi-Samuel), Barbet 75 (assisted Chair)
Bookings: Chair 65 (foul), Wallace 88 (foul)
Referee – Steve Martin (Beverley Hills) 7 There’s one angle of the QPR penalty where it looks like McFadzean has got a good toe on the ball, but first look at normal speed and from most replay angles it looks a penalty. Very poor call to penalise Dykes for handball in the first half when he was running clear and had obviously been fouled himself. Not too bad overall though.
Whatever it may be, his contributions verged on the strange. Ilias Chair had a shot from three quarters of a mile away just after the halfhour that induced a rectum-clenching mishandle from him on the goal line. QPR’s second half pressure brought fumbles under high balls, needless corner concession, and outright panic. Yoann Barbet’s 15 yard header straight at him from a Ryan Manning free kick was flamboyantly, needlessly, palmed high up into the air with two hands when he could have caught it in his teeth. At one point he came for a cross, bumped straight into his defensive midfielder Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu and not only dropped the ball but dropped it and directed it back towards his own net. Luke Amos and Ebere Eze were so stunned by this they did nothing about it, passing up the opportunity for a one-yard tap in. Sluga hit the deck and crawled towards the ball, eventually spaffing it wide with a desperate flappy hand. He then appealed to the referee for a free kick, for the foul by Ruddock-Mpanzu, who was on the same team.
Again, you couldn’t help but think a proper striker might have profited from this circus act. But, again, QPR didn’t win this game, and could easily have lost it.
They trailed from the twentieth minute, Ryan Manning with a dumb challenge from the wrong position with the wrong foot on James Bree to concede a penalty. And so the tried and tested post-Alex Smithies penalty concession routine began. Referee Steve Martin was pursued around the area for a bit, Manning desperate to explain why this blatant penalty wasn’t in fact a blatant penalty at all. All the while goalkeeper Joe Lumley was faffing around with the ball, refusing to return it, sledging Luton players he thought might be taking it, delaying the taking of the kick, refusing to retreat, moving the ball off the spot, arguing with the referee, jiggling the crossbar around a bit, standing behind the line in the back of the net for a while, shouting a few things at taker James Collins. On and on and on these histrionics go, every bloody time, and then when it finally comes to the taking of the kick he dives good, strong and early in one very obvious direction presenting the opposite side of the goal for the striker to role the ball into.
To be fair Lumley had sprung from his line early to defuse a dangerous cross, and saved strongly from Collins in first half stoppage time to prevent it being 2-0 and game over at half time. He was perhaps fortunate that referee Steve Martin was quite so adamant a shepherd on him from the first corner of the second half was exactly that and not simply him making a bad defensive read – Potts’ firm header into the net disallowed, QPR’s set up at defensive corners once again absolutely atrocious.
Luton: Sluga 4; Bree 5, Carter-Vickers 6, Bradley 6, Potts 6; Ruddock-Mpanzu 6; Shinnie 6 (Moncur 83, -), Berry 6, Lee 6 (Cranie 67, 6), Cornick 6 (LuaLua 83, -); Collins 6 (Hylton 82, -)
Subs not used: Tunnicliffe, McManaman, Butterfield, Kioso, Shea
Goals: Collins 20 (penalty, won Bree)
Bookings: Ruddock-Mpanzu 58 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 7; Rangel – (Masterson 11, 6), Kakay 7, Barbet 6, Manning 5; Amos 6 (Oteh 81, -), Cameron 6, Ball 6; Osayi-Samuel 7 (Shodipo 81, -), Eze 6, Chair 6
Subs not used: Kane, Wallace, Bettache, Kelly, Gubbins, Clarke
Goals: Ball 65 (assisted Osayi-Samuel)
Referee – Steve Martin (Beverley Hills) 6 No arguments with the penalty, thought we maybe got away with one for their disallowed goal though keepers do usually get those, and not too bad overall but one or two odd calls and overall we didn’t seem to get a lot out of him. Four minutes onto a second half with five substitutions, a water break, and injuries to Bright Osayi-Samuel and others once more called into question the standard of time keeping among Championship referees.
Floodgates open, horses bolting everywhere, Swansea got caught with their pants down again straight away. Once more their idealistic/suicidal pisballing about set up Chair to feed Osayi-Samuel who squared up the Jake Bidwell costume that remained on the field after the second goal, widened the angle, and drew a save from Kristoffer Nordfeldt at his near post. Hugill bought a generous foul from Father of the Bride star Steve Martin on the edge of the area and Chair beat the wall but not the keeper with the free kick. When he did get the delivery spot on four minutes later, Hugill ignored the rudimentary wrestling techniques of the visiting defenders to stretch out at the back post and divert in a third. In a minute of added on time Osayi-Samuel escaped once more and a super move ended with Chair having a shot saved on another acute angle.
I was quite surprised to see Osayi-Samuel come out for the second half, and stay on as long as he did. He’d been feeling his calf from early in the game, and did so again after the restart, but his presence was enough to keep QPR comfortably on top and the visitors at arm’s length. He got round the back on 50 minutes and cut a cross back which was cleared, then turned on the edge of the area and shot just wide of the top corner on the hour. There was then a huge shout for a penalty as Osayi-Samuel drew a tackle in the area and hit the deck, but Three Amigos mainstay Martin deemed that while the Swansea player hadn’t won the ball (goal kick awarded) he hadn’t fouled the man either. Bold call, as was an almost immediate decision to wave away an even more blatant foul on Pugh in the box on the other side of the goal. A short corner routine reached Josh Scowen on the edge of the area and Bidwell made a brave block to deny him.
No refereeing doubts about Jay Fulton’s horrible tackle on the superb Ilias Chair as he streaked away on 63 minutes mind – an immediate yellow, and frankly he was fairly lucky that was all it was. There’s deliberately, professionally tripping a player to stop him running away from you, and there’s trying to snap a kid’s leg, and this was somewhere on the borderline of the two. The free kick just eluded both Hugill and Lee Wallace at the back post.
QPR: Kelly 6; Kane 6, Cameron 6 (Gubbins 90, -), Masterson 7, Wallace 7; Ball 7, Scowen 7; Osayi-Samuel 8 (Shodipo 69, 6), Chair 8 (Dalling 80, -), Pugh 7; Hugill 7
Subs not used: Hall, Smith, Wells, Barnes
Goals: Hugill 21 (assisted Kane), 45 (assisted Chair), Osayi-Samuel 29 (assisted Bidwell), Wallace 76 (unassisted), Scowen 90+1 (assisted Kane)
Swansea: Nordfeldt 4; Roberts 5, Cooper 5, Bidwell 3, John 5; Carroll 4, Fulton 4; Dyer 4 (Baston 58, 5), McKay 5 (Celina 58, 6), Peterson 6 (Byers 58, 5); Kalulu 6
Subs not used: Dhanda, Mulder, Scully, Naughton, Cabango
Goals: Byers 60 (assisted Celina)
Bookings: Fulton 64 (foul)
Steve Martin (Staffordshire) 6 I thought the challenge on Pugh was a penalty, though perhaps the swan dive put the referee off giving it. Free kick outside the box everyday of the week regardless. Fulton very lucky to only see yellow for his hack at Ilias Chair.
Speaking of QPR doing stupid things... Soon Joe Lumley was rolling a potentially lethal ball out from the back over the toes of Lewis Grabban. Stop it. There was the now standard shot over the bar from Ilias Chair, so desperate for a goal he’s now snatching at chances while leaning back so far he’s almost horizontal. And then, on 49 minutes, a long ball forward from Forest wasn’t dealt with first by Leistner, then by Wallace, and when the Scottish defender hauled down Joe Lolley as he ran beyond him referee Steve Martin produced a red card. Harsh, could have got away with a yellow, but a problem of Rangers’ own making like all the others.
Forest could have levelled the numbers immediately. Matty Cash clattered into Ryan Manning who made a lot of it – as he does. Referee Martin was facing the other way at the time, but somehow decided in a split second that it was to be a yellow card and not a red. Felt rather like a referee too keen not to be seen to even things up to me, even though they may have warranted it. Manning got straight up mind.
Chip pan ablaze? Pour on cold water. Everybody knows this. Josh Scowen was summoned from the bench, and booked immediately for pulling back Lolley after he’d once again burst through a broken midfield off a failed Ryan Manning free kick. That left Scowen on a tightrope and Rangers facing playing with nine men – twice in the remaining time the former Barnsley man needed to commit tactical fouls to prevent further damage but had to pull out for fear of joining Wallace in the early suds. This really wasn’t going well, and to compound matters he subsequently planted Rangers’ best chance of the night wide of the post with his head from eight yards out when it looked for all the world like a goal after enterprising wing play by Kane.
QPR: Lumley 3; Hall 4, Leistner 3, Wallace 4; Kane 5, Manning 3; Amos 4 (Hugill 45, 5), Ball 5; Eze 5, Chair 5 (Scowen 53, 4), Wells 4 (Osayi-Samuel 83, -)
Subs not used: Barnes, Pugh, Mlakar, Cameron
Red Cards: Wallace 49 (professional foul)
Bookings: Scowen 57 (foul)
Forest: Samba 6; Cash 7, Figueiredo 7, Worrall 6, Robinson 7; Watson 7, Silva 7; Adomah 6 (Carvalho 60, 8), Lolley 8 (Bostock 75, 6), Ameobi 7; Grabban 8 (Semedo 85, -)
Subs not used: Mir, Dawson, Chema, Muric
Goals: Figueiredo 15 (assisted Lolley), Grabban 81 (assisted Ameobi), Carvalho 88 (unassisted), Semedo 90+1 (assisted Ameobi)
Bookings: Cash 52 (foul), Bostock 76 (foul)
Referee – Steve Martin (Staffordshire) 4 Red card looks harsh, though QPR made their own problems. Decided very quickly that the challenge on Manning wasn’t a red card, without actually having seen it. Last goal is about the most offside thing you’ll ever see.
Ebere Eze was suddenly imbued with the confidence he was displaying this time last year when he burst onto the scene. Up where it mattered in the final third, pressing forwards with purpose, taking players on, trying things, having shots. This is it. This is what we need from him. Fuck whether he tracks back and works hard and tackles people enough. Fuck it right in the arse. We need to pose an attacking threat, we need our ten to be trying stuff, and tormenting people, and making things happen, and finally here he was doing exactly that. He looked magnificent, dreadlocks flowing, like a proper QPR player.
A free kick a minute from time beat the wall, and Marshall, and struck the outside of the post and went wide. A marauding run in stoppage time carried him from wide left to the heart of the box past a cast of thousands and ended in an untidy challenge from a goalkeeper and two defenders on the penalty spot. Anywhere else on the field it’s a free kick, here referee Steve Martin didn’t fancy the hassle of a last-minute spot kick winner for the away side. Loved him in the Three Amigos, not so much here. QPR would have deserved it, Eze would have deserved it, and Hull’s shot-through defence would have deserved it. If the game had gone on five minutes longer we’d have won it, and Eze – suddenly free of the shackles and without the weight of the world on his shoulders for the first time in months – would have scored it.
Hull: Marshall 5; McKenzie 5, Burke 6, Ridgewell 4, Kingsley 6; Stewart 6, Irvine 6; Bowen 8, Pugh 7, Grosicki 7; Campbell 6 (Martin 77, 5)
Subs not used: Lichaj, Evandro, Dicko, Milinkovic, Long, Kane
Goals: Bowen 7 (assisted Grosicki), 44 (assisted Grosicki)
Bookings: Ridgwell 28 (foul), Stewart 90 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 6; Furlong 5, Leistner 5, Lynch 5, Bidwell 6; Cameron 6 (Scowen 56, 8), Luongo 5; Wszolek 6, Eze 7, Freeman 6 (Osayi-Samuel 46, 7); Wells 5 (Hemed 79, 7)
Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Manning
Goals: Scowen 62 (unassisted), Hemed 84 (assisted Scowen)
Bookings: Lynch 26 (foul), Cameron 52 (foul), Wszolek 72 (dissent)
Referee – Steve Martin (Staffordshire) 5 He was sort of ok but some big calls could easily have gone the other way. Hull are adamant they should have had a free kick in the lead up to the first goal but I can’t say I agree with them, and that the ball was out for the second goal which it quite possibly was and the linesman on that side had been pretty dodgy all second half so it wouldn’t surprise me. I think if Ebere Eze was tackled outside the area as he was inside it in stoppage time you’d get a free kick, but it looked like he couldn’t be doing with the hassle of an injury time, match winning penalty so waved it away. Three times (Lynch once and Hull players twice) allowed defenders in trouble to con him into awarding free kicks by just collapsing to the ground under no contact, the third of which resulted in Pawel Wszolek being booked for dissent – the Pole was right, they were joke decisions, and if they were really worthy of free kicks then the late Eze incident was a stick on penalty.
Hemed scored the game’s only goal ten minutes before half time, acrobatically hooking in from close range after Luke Freeman’s corner had dropped on the edge of the six-yard-box via a pretty blatant looking push by the recalled Joel Lynch on opposite centre back Chey Dunkley. Referee Steve Martin waved away long, loud complaints from the visitors and awarded the goal.
QPR: Lumley 7, Rangel 6, Leistner 6, Lynch 7, Bidwell 6; Eze 6 (Wszolek 87, -), Scowen 6, Luongo 5, Freeman 6; Hemed 7 (Washington 80, 6), Wells 7 (Smith 87, -)
Subs not used: Ingram, Cousins, Baptiste, Kakay
Goals: Hemed 35 (assisted Freeman/Lynch)
Bookings: Rangel 27 (foul), Hemed 71 (foul)
Wigan: Walton 6; Byrne 6 (Vaughan 75, 6), Dunkley 6, Kipre 4, Robinson 6; Massey 6 (James 32, 6), Evans 6, Morsy 6, Windass 7 (Roberts 83, -); Powell 7, Grigg 6
Subs not used: Bruce, McManaman, Jones, Connolly
Bookings: Byrne 28 (foul)
Referee – Steve Martin (Staffordshire) 6 I like him, I like his hands off refereeing style, I like how he lets the players get away with a bit rather than pernickety whistling for every little bit of contact. But that was a foul by Lynch for the Hemed goal, so he can’t have too high a mark.
At the other end Lumley was fortunate to escape when he spilled a routine shot from Jota into the path of Birmingham sub Sam Gallagher and then appeared to trip the Southampton loanee while desperately trying to retrieve the situation – otherwise excellent referee Steve Martin waved the appeals away. Pretty obvious penalty for my money. Later the young keeper made a smarter save from the Spanish winger as he tried to seek out the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Despite the mistake, Lumley carries himself with a confidence and presence that, perhaps harshly, I just don’t see from Matt Ingram on his rare outings.
QPR: Lumley 6; Kakay 5 (Onuoha 67, 7), Furlong 7, Bidwell 7, Manning 7; Scowen 7; Eze 7, Chair 8, Freeman 8, Osayi-Samuel 7 (Mackie 69, 7); Sylla 5 (Smith 77, 7)
Subs not used: Smithies, Cousins, Smyth, Tilt
Goals: Osayi-Samuel 29 (assisted Chair), Chair 70 (assisted Freeman), Smith 90+2 (Unassisted)
Bookings: Manning 57 (foul), Chair 88 (foul)
Birmingham: Stockdale 7; Harding 5, Morrison 5, Roberts 5, Colin 5; Davis 5, Ndoye 5 (Gardner 73, 5); Jota 6, Adams 6 (Gallagher 57, 5), Maghoma 7; Jutkiewicz 4
Subs not used: Grounds, Kieftenbeld, Dacres-Cogley, Kuszczak, Lubala
Goals: Adams 27 (assisted Maghoma)
Bookings: Davis 63 (foul)
Referee – Steve Martin (Staffordshire) 8 Would have been a nine, or perhaps even a ten, but for the Birmingham penalty incident when Lumley spilt the ball and then pretty obviously caught the striker as he rushed in for the rebound. That was probably a spot kick, but other than that he was near perfect. I like his unfussy style and how he doesn’t just lazily blow a free kick for every tiny bit of contact, the players soon wise up to it and stop diving about and the game flows a lot better as a result. Probably the best of the regulars this term for me.
QPR appealed for handball in the area by Turner when he fell over and seemed to trap the ball with his arms, but then wasted a succession of set piece opportunities they were awarded by referee Steve Martin who controlled the contest with calm authority. While Burton’s physical dominance understandably made Freeman reluctant to just throw set pieces straight into the mixer, watching some of the alternatives we came up with were like being forced to listen to Heart FM on a loop.
There was some more braindead fuckwittery in the quarter of an hour that remained. Joel Lynch giving the ball away in a bad area, then chasing his man back and hauling him down right on the corner of the penalty box for a dangerous free kick and obvious yellow card chief amongst it. But Burton didn’t look like they believed an equaliser would come, while Rangers were now so confident that big Matt Smith was trying half volleys from the edge of the area – Bywater saved, stifling a laugh. Come on Matt, we’ve all had a drink.
Burton: Bywater 6; McFadzean 5 (Allen 60, 6), Buxton 4, Turner 6; Brayford 6, Flanagan 5; Miller 5 (Sbarra 41, 6), Naylor 6, Murphy 6 (Sordell 80, 6); Dyer 7, Akins 6
Subs not used: Warnock, Akpan, Campbell, Barker
Goals: Dyer 34 (unassisted)
Yellow Cards: Murphy 53 (foul), McFadzean 56 (foul), Buxton 90+1 (deliberate handball)
QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 6, Lynch 6, Robinson 6; Furlong 7, Bidwell 6; Scowen 7, Freeman 7 (Manning 89, -), Luongo 8; Washington 7, Oteh 6 (Smith 74, 6)
Subs not used: Ingram, Wszolek, Perch, Eze, Sylla
Goals: Oteh 32 (assisted Furlong), Washington 74 (assisted Freeman), Luongo 86 (assisted Washington)
Yellow Cards: Scowen 66 (foul), Lynch 71 (foul)
Referee – Steve Martin (Staffordshire) 8 Very few complaints, calm refereeing and game well under control. Not a particularly difficult game to referee but this performance was in keeping with most of the refereeing we’ve seen at QPR games this year, which has been excellent.
Freeman’s deliberate foul on Mokotjo after losing the ball, committed despite plenty of cover behind him, betrayed QPR’s desperation and lack of trust in their rickety defence. No problem with that yellow card from referee Steve Martin (funny guy), but frustration grew when Ryan Woods was let off similar niggles with just a warning. Freeman is now suspended for Preston on Saturday.
At two nil up, they were still throwing forwards on. Romaine Sawyers and Neil Maupay, not exactly the most defensive players, coming on in search of a third goal when, however much you’ve dominated, you should probably be thinking about getting another midfielder on and seeing the game out. To do so isn’t betraying any kind of ethos, isn’t regressing to lowest common denominator football, and shouldn’t carry any stigma – it’s just sensible game management. Not to bother smacked of arrogance, and the Brentford fans were still sarcastically celebrating QPR’s first goal as the free kick for the second was taken. It was Sawyers who conceded that set piece, and Maupay responded to the loss of two points by belting Jack Robinson up in the air and then getting into a stand up argument with the referee over the subsequent yellow card.
QPR: Smithies 8; Cousins 5 (Wszolek 74, 5), Baptiste 5, Robinson 7, Bidwell 6; Freeman 6, Luongo 6, Scowen 6, Mackie 5 (LuaLua 74, 4); Washington 5, Sylla 6 (Smith 58, 8)
Subs not used: Chair, Lumley, Wheeler, Goss
Goals: Smith 90+2 (assisted Freeman/Bidwell), Freeman 90+4 (assisted Smith)
Bookings: Freeman 15 (foul), Mackie 27 (foul)
Brentford: Bentley 5; Clarke 6, Egan 5, Bjelland 5, Barbet 7; Mokotjo 7, Woods 7; Yennaris 7, Jozefzoon 6 (Watkins 29, 6), Canos 8 (Sawyers 73, 5); Vibe 8 (Maupay 82, 4)
Subs not used: MacLeod, McEachran, Daniels, Mepham
Goals: Vibe 52 (assisted Yennaris), 81 (assisted Sawyers)
Bookings: Vibe 63 (foul), Maupay 90+6 (foul/dissent)
Referee – Steve Martin (Staffordshire) 6 Bookings all correct, although having carded Freeman I felt he was then lenient on Brentford in similar situations, particularly Ryan Woods. I think it was a penalty for the handball in the second half, but after half a dozen looks my housemate still disagrees with me – referee gets one look at normal speed. I thought he did well not to be suckered into the constant awarding of free kicks by Canos’ play acting, but should have carded Brentford’s outstanding player for diving to stop it happening. Could have been hotter on the time wasting in the second half, although the stoppage time he did add proved more than adequate. Got next to no assistance from two poor linesmen.
The second period brought a change for the home side, who replaced the anonymous Vaughan with Grabban. Bidwell had completely dominated Vaughan in his usual Bidwell manner, which left the former Everton striker bleating to the referee and his assistant, about our defender’s rather rough handling. I thought this was Bidwell’s best performance for Rangers as he looked both composed and strong throughout.
Sunderland: Steele 5; Matthews 5, Jones 5, O’Shea 5, Oviedo 5; Honeyman 5 (Williams 58, 6), Ndong 5, Cattermole 5, McGeady 7; Vaughan 5 (Grabban 45, 5), Watmore 8 (McManaman 79, 6)
Subs not used: Love, Gibson, Ruiter, Gooch
Goals: McGeady 61 (unassisted)
QPR: Smithies 7; Baptiste 7, Lynch 7, Bidwell 7; Luongo 7, Scowen 8, Manning 6, Freeman 7, Wszolek 6 (Osayi-Samuel 76, 5); Mackie 5 (Washington 67, 5), Sylla 7
Subs not used: Lumley, Furlong, Smith, Ngbakoto, Wheeler
Goals: Sylla 37 (assisted Freeman)
Referee – Steve Martin 9 Another fantastic display from a Championship ref. I thought he was virtually faultless, allowing the game to flow and keeping his cards in his pocket. The closest I’ve ever coming to awarding a ten! Cattermole might have been booked for simply being Cattermole, and only adding 1 minute added time at the end of the first half when three would have more appropriate, are my only frivolous complaints.
QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 5, Onuoha 5, Hall 6 (Caulker 35,5) Lynch 5; Henry 5, Borysiuk 6; Shodipo 5 (Washington 53,6), Chery 5, Wzsolek 6 (Sylla 73, 5) ; Polter 6
Subs not used: Ingam, Gladwin, Hamalainen, Luongo
Goals: Wzsolek 11 (assisted Shodipo)
Bookings: Lynch 56 (foul)
Reading: Al-Habsi 6; Blackett 5 (Obita 66, 6), van den Berg 6, Moore 6, Gunter 6; Evans 7, Williams 8; McCleary 7 (Harriot 84, 6), Swift 7, Beerens 7, Kermogant 7
Subs not used: Samuel, Gravenberch, Watson, Jaakkola, Kelly
Goals: Williams 21 (assisted McCleary)
Bookings: van den Berg 49 (foul)
Referee – Steve Martin 6 A bit pedantic in truth, especially with the booking of van den Berg but didn't have a lot to referee.
So I’m well placed to tell those of you who weren’t there that Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers played out 45 minutes of Championship football in South Wales on Saturday during which two things happened. The first, after 13 minutes, saw Cardiff’s most advanced midfielder Anthony Pilkington dive in the penalty box attempting to con a penalty kick out of referee Stephen Martin. He was yellow carded for his troubles. Later, on the half hour, Pilkington ushered a chance wide of the post after Stuart O’Keefe had crossed and Lex Immers had flicked it on at the near post.
And it’s probably worth noting that Grant Hall, who’s had one or two issues of late, followed up a very fine ball and all tackle in his own penalty area with a mad five minutes during which he was first caught in possession in a dangerous area trying to bring a dropping ball down with a first touch when he should have just leathered it away, then tried a risky pass across his own box to Hill with similarly poor results, and finally tried to buy a free kick tight to the touchline with an obvious dive that Martin waved away again allowing Cardiff to launch an attack against a short-handed defence.
There were other scares in between – Nedum Onuoha flinging everything he owns in front of a powerful drive from Malone after Konchesky had been skinned showed tremendous commitment and desire to win the point in a largely meaningless match. Hall also stood his ground, and was subsequently wrestled over by Pilkington for an obvious yellow card, when Zohore sent Ralls’ back post cross all the way back through the goal mouth.
Cardiff: Marshall 6; Peltier 5, Morrison 6, Connolly 6, Malone 6; Noone 6, O’Keefe 6 (Ameobi 66, 7), Ralls 6, Whittingham 5 (Gunnarsson 81, -); Immers 5 (Zohore 80, -); Pilkington 5
Subs not used: Turner, Dikgacoi, Moore, Lawrence
Bookings: Pilkington 13 (diving), Peltier 49 (foul)
QPR: Ingram 7; Onuoha 6, Hall 6, Hill 6, Konchesky 4; Henry 6, Luongo 6, Faurlin 6, Phillips 6 (Washington 84, -); Chery 5 (El Khayati 72, 6); Polter 5 (Gladwin 66, 6)
Subs not used: Lumley, Hoilett, Petrasso, Kpekawa
Bookings: Konchesky 81 (foul)
Referee – Stephen Martin (Staffordshire) 8 Promising performance on his first ever QPR outing. Bookings spot on, early dive from Pilkington not bought, decent control of a pretty pedestrian game.
Lee Wallace was Martin’s first red card of last season when he was dismissed in our home loss to Nottingham Forest, and he quickly followed that up with a second at Derby 1-1 Sheff Wed in a game that also featured a season high seven yellows. He made it all the way through to the last night at Reading 1-4 Swansea without another though and he ended with a skinny total of 91 yellows (2.459) and three reds from 37 appointments across the season.
Low numbers this season too with just 28 yellow cards shown in 15 games, and we’re yet to see a sending off from this official so far. This is his third Swansea game of the season following a 2-1 home win against Millwall and 1-1 draw away at Brentford where they had a last minute winner disallowed for offside against the best side they’ve played all season. As well as their 4-1 win at Reading and 5-1 loss at QPR, Martin also had the Swans for a 2-1 win at home to Sheff Wed last season.
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