Brooks gets Sheff Wed's QPR trip again - Referee
Thursday, 8th Apr 2021 13:04 by Clive Whittingham
John Brooks from Leicestershire takes charge of QPR for the second time this season as the R’s host struggling Sheff Wed on Saturday.
Referee >>> John Brooks (Leicestershire)
Assistants >>> Akil Howson (Leicestershire) and Nick Greenhalgh (Lancashire)
Fourth Official >>> Lee Swabey (Devon)
Dom Ball’s Ideas Above His Station No.368 in the Series included him pioneering off down the right via a nutmeg. It came to nothing, it never does, but this is where we were in this game, Dom Ball nutmegging people. There were yellows late in the half – Osman Kakay harshly from referee John Brooks for his first foul, Bright stupidly for lashing out in injury time – but QPR had been far and away the better team, should have led at least 2-0, and Warbs Warburton’s stock phrases about ruthlessness in the opposition penalty area were, for once, every bit as spot on as his much maligned team selection.
Bournemouth: Begovic 7; Mepham 6, S Cook 5, Rico 6; Stacey 6, L Cook 5, Lerma 5 (Stanislas 76, 5), Gosling 5, Smith 5; Solanke 5, Surridge 5 (Danjuma 61, 7)
Subs not used: Riquelme, Travers, Ofobohr, Simpson, Zemura
Bookings: Rico 48 (foul)
QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 7, Dickie 8, Barbet 6, Wallace 7; Cameron 6, Ball 6; Osayi-Samuel 6 (Adomah 67, 6), Amos 8 (Carroll 72, 6), Chair 6 (Willock 83, -); Bonne 5
Subs not used: Kane, Masterson, Bettache, Kelly
Bookings: Kakay 42 (foul), Osayi-Samuel 45+2 (foul), Chair 55 (foul)
Referee – John Brooks (Leicestershire) 7 One or two odd moments, and Kakay’s booking looked harsh, but the other cards were justified and nothing major wrong.
Rangers had been absolutely blitzed. Completely blown out of the game by an excellent team with a fearsome forward line. Unable to regain a foothold after conceding the first, wide open in defence and completely mismatched in midfield. It was a carve up, and although there was a late chance for Ilias Chair off a decent Amos through ball that Pinnock cleared up with a ballbusting tackle, and a second obvious penalty shout of the game waved away by referee John Brooks when Jansson cynically and deliberately cleared out Nahki Wells as he threatened to run onto a through ball, there was barely a murmur from a shell-shocked away end.
We were, and are, way too meek. Easily bullied. The final 20 minutes of the game saw a succession of very soft free kicks being given to the home team for stuff we hadn’t been given free kicks for ourselves – nobody said a bloody thing about it. Three Brentford subs walked very slowly off the field milking the applause and running the clock. Again, nobody spoke to referee Brooks about it. Way, way too nice.
In truth, it looked more likely to be 4-1 than 3-2. An early Benrahma free kick looked in all the way before it slide into the side-netting. Watkins let Rangers off the hook with a deliberate handball on the corner of the penalty area with Lumley having a little wander out into zone six. Kane, horribly exposed defensively again, was spared embarrassment after believing a ball was going out only for Benrahma to keep it in with an immaculate first touch and cross by Watkins’ header over the bar. More lousy marking from an eighty seventh minute corner presented Watkins with another chance at the back post but he fired it back from whence it came rather than into the net.
On one of the rare occasions Brooks did award QPR a free kick he seemed to immediately change his mind, apologise, and present an uncontested drop ball back to Brentford, who hadn’t had the ball at the time. An odd moment amidst a strange refereeing display.
Brentford: Raya 7; Dalsgaard 7, Jansson 7, Pinnock 8, Henry 8; Jensen 7 (Mokotjo 75, 6), Norgaard 7, Dasilva 8 (Marcondes 87, -); Mbeumo 8 (Castillo 81, -), Watkins 8, Benrahma 8
Subs not used: Thompson, Jeanvier, Daniels, Zamburek
Goals: Benrahma, 19 (assisted Jensen), Mbeumo 23, Watkins 33 (assisted Pinnock)
QPR: Lumley 3; Kane 4, Cameron 5, Hall 4, Manning 5; Ball 4 (Masterson 46, 6), Amos 5; Osayi-Samuel 6, Chair 5 (Shodipo 81, -), Eze 5; Wells 5 (Hugill 71, 5)
Subs not used: Wallace, Pugh, Scowen, Kelly
Goals: Wells 61 (assisted Osayi-Samuel)
Bookings: Hall 46 (foul), Kane 56 (foul), Cameron 71 (foul), Osayi-Samuel 90 (unsporting), Manning 90+4 (foul)
Referee – John Brooks (Leicestershire) 4 Given that he’s getting games like this, and Forest v Derby earlier in the season, it’s reasonable to assume he’s being earmarked for bigger things, but every time I see him he gets big, not particularly difficult, decisions wrong. Sheff Wed at home last year he failed to award the Owls a penalty despite Rangel kicking right through Pudil’s face, splitting his head open. At Millwall away he failed to even award a free kick, let alone the red card it deserved, for Joel Lynch fouling Lee Gregory when he was clean through. And at Hillsborough this year he gave a penalty against Grant Hall which I still don’t understand the reasoning behind four months and a million replays on. Here, both teams should have had a first half penalty – Cameron tripped Watkins having allowed him to run in the wrong side of him, Jansson cynically and deliberately took out Wells trying to get onto a return ball from Eze. Obvious, easy stuff. Having ignored those two blatant fouls he then spent the second half awarding free kicks for every tiny little brush or bit of contact by anybody – unless it was on Jordan Hugill, that was fine apparently. Unbelievably fussy about every little thing that happens outside the penalty area, completely oblivious to serious stuff that happens in the box.
The first half was made up of a mixture of: great approach play without the necessary final ball or finish from us, poor play and niggly fouls from Wednesday, and some quite frankly awful decisions from the referee.
Most of the play was in the midfield area, with only Wells testing Westwood with a smart low effort, before the referee decided to liven things up in the 22nd minute by awarding a perplexingly soft penalty to the home side. Just before this occurred, I'd very stupidly thought (but didn't say it out loud) that I couldn't see them hurting us, they looked so ponderous and ineffective. Then bang, ball nowhere near him, Forestieri decides to do an impression of a goat and put his face into the grass. There probably was some kind of contact from Hall, but enough for that reaction, I doubt it. You will have all seen the highlights by now and I bet it looks even softer on the screen. I don't recall any appeals for a penalty, but the referee was happy to take centre stage and give Wednesday a chance to have an actual shot. Lumley, as usual dived early and the wrong way. It was a good strike by 87-year-old Fletcher and Lumley wouldn't have saved it anyway. But Joe, just wait a second, stand your ground and save the bad penalties.
Talking of penalties, Hugill ended up on the deck in the box, twice later in the half, one of these looked a very good shout, but nothing was given. Any little touch outside the box was instantly blown for- so bloody infuriating.
Despite the setback, we continued to dominate the ball and applied plenty of pressure in the final third. The impressive Chair had a couple of long range shots, one comfortably saved, the other into the side netting. This was also the destination for a Manning free kick, which cleared the wall and momentarily looked very good.
There were a fair few cynical fouls and handbag situations, which were initially unpunished before the referee stated waving his yellow card around. The very annoying (and unusually poor for him on the day) Bannan was finally booked for a spat with Hugill, who was also carded. Bannan was lucky it wasn't worse after kicking out. Forestieri also saw yellow for a niggly foul against Manning and Rangel received the same for a very professional, breakaway stopping trip on halfway.
Sheff Wed: Westwood 7, Palmer 5 (Murphy 75, 5), Iorfa 4, Bornar 4, Fox 4 (Luongo 67, 4) Reach 4 (Nuhui 76, 4), Hutchinson 5, Bannan 5, Harris 5, Forestieri 4, Fletcher 5.
Subs not used: Lee, Rhodes, Dawson, Bates
Goals: Fletcher 23 (penalty, won Forestieri)
Bookings: Borner 21 (foul), Bannan 23 (unsporting) Forestieri 45+3 (foul), Iorfa (90+4 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 7 (Kane 88, -) Manning 7, Barbet 6, Hall 6, Leistner 7; Ball 6, Eze 7 ( Scowen 83, -), Chair 7; Wells 7 (Mlakar 68 5), Hugill 8.
Subs not used: Pugh, Osayi-Samuel, Owens, Kelly
Goals: Hugill 60 (assisted Wells), 64 (assisted Manning)
Bookings: Hugill 23 (unsporting) Rangel 43 (foul), Leistner 90+6 (foul)
Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire) 3 Ridiculously soft penalty when compared to two claims at the other end. Let too much go early on and struggled to regain control. No issue with any of the bookings and did improve in second half- good job he did.
Yet as quickly and well as they had started, it was all very nearly undone within the first quarter-hour in the most typical Rangers' fashion. Millwall forward Lee Gregory looked to race onto a hopeful punt over the top before going to ground under a challenge from Lynch. The general consensus from the away end was that it was a red. Lynch Easter getaway booked etc etc. Yet despite referee John Brooks judging 20 innocuous challenges as fouls in the first half alone, he let Lynch off the hook.
Joe Lumley collected the loose ball and wasted no time in starting a counter attack whilst Millwall remonstrated with the referee but Wells' shot was well blocked by James Meredith. The resulting corner was headed over by Smith as Rangers played percentages at every opportunity. Not content with his escape, Lynch was soon into the book for the sixth time in 11 games and the twelfth occasion this season for abusing the linesman over another soft call.
Millwall: Martin 6; Romero 6, Cooper 5, Pearce 6, Meredith 6; Wallace 6, Tunnicliffe 5 (Morrison 83 5), Leonard 5, Marshall 6 (O'Brien 78 5); Thompson 6, Gregory 6
Subs not used: Amos, Mcauglin, Williams, Elliot, Skalak
Bookings: Marshall 14 (foul), Tunnicliffe 30 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 6; Furlong 6, Leistner 6, Lynch 6, Manning 7; Scowen 8, Luongo 7, Cameron 6, Freeman 7 (Wszolek 90); Wells 6 (Osayi-Samuel 62, 8), Smith 7
Subs not used: Ingram, Cousins, Eze, Walker, Hemed
Bookings: Lynch 24 (dissent), Manning 33 (foul), Luongo 49 (foul)
Referee – John Brooks (Leicestershire) 6 Picky. Clearly wanted to keep a hold of a London derby with a lot of whistle and card, particularly in the first half. Generously let Lynch off with what looked like a foul on Gregory as he went through on goal.
Then a couple of odd things happened. Firstly, Nahki Wells took a bit of a whack to the face which referee John Brooks seemed quite ok with – we know from experience he’s not adverse to allowing players to rip each other’s faces off of course. Secondly, West Brom treated this stoppage as a bit of a networking opportunity - ambling over to the touchline, getting a round of drinks in, having a bit of a conflab between themselves, business cards passed around, ball boys carrying trays of canapes… Loftus Road, where connections get made and deals get done. Sorry to interrupt lads but there’s a football game going on here. Not much of one, admittedly, but if we could just fucking well get on with it then I can get home and get the heating on and contemplate how much of my life I’ve wasted on this shit.
You can talk about bad luck, and by God are we getting our fair wedge of that at the moment, but if you’re going to shit the bed like that under no pressure whatsoever against teams of West Brom’s quality then really and truly what on earth do you expect? Another defensive howler with another bouncing ball drew Lumley from his area for a pretty obvious deliberate handball missed by the referee. How are those contract talks progressing Joel?
With a quarter of an hour to go, Rangers were awarded a soft penalty. Turning back into the area after retrieving a deep cross from Eze, Hemed bent down to head a bouncing ball just as Jake Livermore kicked upward looking for the same thing. A generous call of high foot, one you never see given in the penalty box, but a spot kick all the same and with Hemed now on the field one QPR were likely to convert. Johnstone sat down. Two two it was.
Two two and flying all over the show now. Championship football at its nonsense best. Murphy thought he’d scored with a low shot off a Gibbs cross – QPR still horribly vulnerable out wide despite a switch to a back four – but Lumley made an unorthodox and brilliant save with his legs. Eze delicately sent Osayi-Samuel screaming through on goal but his shot was struck too purely and went straight at Johnson. Frustrated, Jake Livermore embarked on a wild, rash, late sliding tackle on Eze over by the dugouts which was a red card all day long but only received a yellow. West Brom will call that one each from John Brooks after the soft penalty, but Livermore would have more to say later. Eze recovered, spun, unloaded a shot at the near post, Johnstone fortunate not to be caught out. Good to see Eze back at this sort of level. We’re better in this shape, with him in it.
QPR: Lumley 6; Furlong 5, Leistner 6, Lynch 4; Wszolek 6 (Osayi-Samuel 71, 7), Bidwell 5; Cousins 6, Luongo 7, Freeman 8; Smith 5 (Eze 46, 7), Wells 5 (Hemed 71, 7)
Subs not used: Ingram, Scowen, Manning, Kakay
Goals: Freeman 35 (assisted Wells), Hemed 75 (penalty, won Hemed)
West Brom: Johnstone 6; Holgate 7, Hegazi 8, Dawson 6, Gibbs 7; Livermore 7, Johansen 6 (Barry 65, 6); Montero 7 (Harper 57, 6), Field 6 (Phillips 81, -), Murphy 8; Rodriguez 7
Subs not used: Bartley, Edwards, Bond, Adarabioyo
Goals: Montero 4 (assisted Murphy), Murphy 61 (assisted Lynch), Livermore 90+3 (assisted Holgate)
Bookings: Livermore 74 (foul)
Referee – John Brooks (Leicestershire) 5 Much like his last visit here his overall control of the game and refereeing style is very good – calm, unfussy, unobtrusive – but he’s not good on the big decisions. Livermore was late, reckless, with studs up. It was a red card. Lumley definitely handled the ball outside the area. The QPR penalty was very debateable. Linesman on the Ellerslie Road side had an odd night as well.
Hemed had already toed an improvised effort at Dawson and Rangers were comfortable thereafter, bar one pretty blatant penalty appeal survived when referee John Brooks failed to spot Rangel’s high boot challenge which smashed Pudil’s head into a thousand pieces. Any cynicism about the way the Czech played dead, then immediately jumped up to chase the official when he realised he wasn’t getting the decision, was tempered at first sight of the huge hole in his head. Don’t shine that light in my eyes mate, I’ve lost a pint of blood.
QPR: Lumley 7; Rangel 7, Leistner 7, Lynch 8, Bidwell 6; Cameron 8, Luongo 7; Wszolek 8, Eze 8 (Scowen 84, -), Freeman 8 (Cousins 88, -), Hemed 7 (Wells 65, 7)
Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Smith, Osayi-Samuel
Goals: Hemed 35 (assisted Wszolek), Freeman 65 (assisted Wszolek), Wells 83 (assisted Eze)
Sheff Wed: Dawson 5; Baker 6, Hector 6, Pudil 6 (Thorniley 62, 6), Fox 5; Pelupessy 5 (Penney 75, 6), Bannan 7, Reach 7, Onomah 6; Joao 5 (Fletcher 75, 6), Nuhiu 5
Subs not used: Palmer, Lees, Wildsmith, Kirby
Referee – Robert Brooks (Leicestershire) 6 Well I liked his unfussy style, and keenness to keep cards in his pockets. But Freeman was one of a couple who committed cynical fouls after being caught out of position that really should have been yellows, and although Pudil was stooping for the incident where Rangel split his head open it’s a pretty obvious penalty.
Brooks stepped onto the Football League list for the first time in 2016/17, refereeing 36 games in Leagues One and Two and a smattering in the Football League Trophy. He showed 150 yellows (4.166) and ten reds across those games, topped out by eight yellows and a red in Millwall’s hilarious 3-2 home defeat by Rochdale in the third tier.
His first Championship game came in 2017/18 amidst a hefty workload of 51 appearances. He took Reading’s home defeat by Burton two days before Christmas and added three more games at this level before the end of the campaign (Sunderland 0-2 Brentford, Ipswich 0-0 Sheff Utd, Norwich 2-1 Leeds). He booked 149 (2.9) and sent six off in total, with nine yellows and a red at Bristol Rovers 2-1 Walsall his top haul.
In 2018/19 he showed 156 yellows and five reds across 40 appointments (3.9) which includes eight yellows at Bolton 2-2 Bristol City, Norwich 3-3 Forest and Brentford 3-3 Derby, and seven yellows and a red at Portsmouth 1-2 Charlton. Just the one red card in 33 games last year to go with 124 yellows, substantially boosted by ten shown in the late season game between Huddersfield and West Brom.
So far this season he’s booked 88 (3.38) and sent four off in 26 appointments. Seven yellows at Huddersfield 3-2 Middlesbrough is his biggest single haul and his only Sheff Wed appointment in 2020/21 saw them win 1-0 at home to fellow strugglers Coventry. Among his four Wednesday appointments last year was a painful defeat at Stoke where they led 2-1 going into stoppage time and ended up beaten 3-2.
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