The good news keeps on coming – Referee
Thursday, 23rd Dec 2021 13:42 by Clive Whittingham
If QPR are to finally return to action on December 27, against Bournemouth, they’ll find the comedy stylings of our old chum Keith Stroud waiting for us.
Referee >>> Keith Stroud (Hampshire), over the last ten years QPR have had 20 fixtures with Keith Stroud resulting in 12 defeats, five draws and just three wins. In that time they have had six penalties awarded against them, none for, and had four of their players sent off, to just one opponent. This Bournemouth-born official has refereed the Cherries’ 11 times in his career – W10 D1 L0.
Assistants >>> Sam Lewis (Buckinghamshire) and Akil Howson (Leicestershire), Howson the linesman who incorrectly disallowed Blackpool’s opener against us at Bloomfield Road in November.
Fourth Official >>> Tim Robinson (West Sussex)
Here’s the bit about the refereeing. You will of course be aware that QPR won the game through a Charlie Austin goal at the Loft End ten minutes from time. He’d earlier had a powerful sighter just over the bar after replacing Gray as a substitute, and when Ilias Chair drew a fairly outstanding save from Burge and fellow sub Albert Adomah’s follow-up on the line was blocked by Dennis Cirkin’s hand he forced the winning goal home from close range, into the empty net with his head. Except that, after an imponderable delay, in which referee Keith Stroud had clearly given the goal, linesman Mark Dwyer raised his flag to rule it back out again. Who he’s flagged offside is difficult to determine, because nobody is, before we even get to why on earth it’s not a penalty anyway for the handball. Whether he’s got himself confused because the goalkeeper had landed in front of the defender so wasn’t last man, we’ll never know, because no explanation is ever forthcoming. What role Stroud, who even on a night like this when he was perfectly fine for most of the match is only ever moving closer minute by minute to his next abject catastrophe, played in this we’re also forbidden from asking – though given the inordinate delay in the decision it’s reasonable to assume they at least had a conversation about it through the ear pieces.
It’s a howler. One of the most obviously incorrect, easy-to-get-right, difficult-to-get-wrong decisions you’ll see. We’re told they can only give what they see, and quite what he thinks he’s seen here is a mystery. It’s cost QPR a quarter final place, a substantial amount of money, a win, a memorable night, progress, momentum, mood and plenty else besides. It’s a catastrophically bad call and I suppose what some of you want me to do now, what you’re all expecting me to do now, is crack my fingers, lube up the rubber fist and go 25 inches deep on the dozy fucker that inflicted it on us. Tempting as it is, and racing certainty that’s exactly what I would have done if I was writing this last night when no amount of Crown and Sceptre Peroni could douse the burning flame of injustice, I may be your latest disappointment.
Refereeing in this country is in a dire state considering the money the game has that it could be throwing at it. Our officials were by some considerable distance the worst and most inept at the European Championships in the summer – it stuck out to the point of national embarrassment. The pay, conditions, stress and abuse do not attract people to the job in enough quantity for there to be any kind of quality. Mark Dwyer’s punishment for this horror is Sheffield United v Blackpool on Saturday, and then Coventry v Swansea next Tuesday – because there’s nobody else. Keith Stroud is back next Tuesday at Peterborough v Huddersfield. When he made an absolute pig’s ear of Swansea v Hull last month what did they do? They gave him Bournemouth v QPR, the televised game of the night, on the Tuesday. What did they do when he nearly blew Brentford’s 2019/20 play-off bid up with an incorrect red card for Rico Henry at Swansea? The overturned the card on appeal, and gave Stroud another play-off semi-final the year after. It took his ‘incorrect in law’ nause up of Newcastle v Burton for them to do anything about him at all, despite him being clearly and obviously the worst referee in this league for a decade or more, and even then it was just a month on the sidelines.
We’re stuck with a bad combination of assessors looking for and rewarding the wrong things (so officious little wankers like Tony Harrington get promoted while Geoff Eltringham spends the rest of his life in this league) and a lack of any decent talent coming through into an unattractive job. People like Stroud and Dwyer just hang around on the list, for the sadistic love of a job they’re terrible at, making horrendous mistakes weekly, never punished, never demoted, because really who else is there and what would that achieve? Here, as is the case every week, the referee was the oldest man on the pitch by a distance, in an increasingly fast, frenetic and fitness-based sport. Dwyer's probably part time, fitting his inept officiating around some poxy office job, in a league from which promotion is worth £120m to each team. We’re going to Cardiff next week and Andy Woolmer is waiting for us there, another crusty old disaster artist with no business being within 200 miles of professional sport at this level… but… again… who else is there? With abuse, assaults, threats, rank pay, appalling senior management, dire assessment from incompetent assessors… why would you be a referee? Every week there's a story of some poor old boy getting punched on Hackney Marshes because he didn't award some roided-up meathead a penalty kick.
QPR: Dieng 7; Kakay 6 (Adomah 72, 7), Dickie 5, De Wijs 6, Barbet 5, Odubajo 5; Amos 7 (Duke-McKenna 84, -); Willock 6 (Dozzell 73, 6), Chair 6, Gray 5 (Austin 62, 6), Dykes 7
Subs not used: Johanson, Ball, Archer, Dunne, Drewe
Bookings: De Wijs 15 (foul)
Sunderland: Burge 8; Winchester 7, Alves 6 (Doyle 69, 6), Wright 7, Hume 6 (Cirkin 24, 8); Neil 8, Evans 7 (O’Brien 65, 7); Gooch 7 (McGeady 65, 7), O’Nien 7, Dajaku 8 (Prichard 69, 7); Stewart 7
Subs not used: Flanagan, Harris, Hoffman, Wearne
Bookings: O’Nien 17 (foul), Gooch 39 (dissent), Stewart 90+4 (foul)
Which brings us back, as is so often the case, to Keith Stroud. Centre of attention as always. As I said in the preview, the PGMOL and EFL seem to love him. When Newcastle score a penalty with encroachment he gives Burton Albion an indirect free kick instead of ordering a retake, but instead of sacking him they sit him out for a couple of months and then bring him back. When he almost costs Brentford a play-off semi-final against Swansea with the nonsense sending off of Rico Henry in one of the league’s highest profile games of the season, they simply overturn the red card and give him another play-off semi-final the following year. Two horrendous non-penalty calls at Swansea at the weekend, straight back on the circuit in the game of the night on Tuesday. He’s that mate in every group, who jumps on your back when you’re not expecting it, or dips his ballbag in your pint while you’re in the toilet and thinks it’s hilarious when you get a pube caught in your teeth, and is allowed to hang around because “he’s a bit of a character” when actually, the real truth is, he’s an absolute weapon. Bournemouth players batting the ball down in the penalty area with their arms without a penalty being awarded is just sort of accepted as Keith’s amazing levels of banter because the television companies like to clip that fucking egotistical pitch entrance he insists on doing where he blows the ball a kiss for their socials. Oh Keith. He’s such a card.
It's maddening. And there are few better words to describe his handling of this latest shambling nonsense. The early booking of Zemura, and then generosity towards Billing moments later, is one great example – with Keith Stroud identical offences switch from being a foul worthy of a yellow card to not even getting a free kick, not only within the same game, but often within the same couple of minutes. In the second half Ben Pearson The Goblin Boy was brought on and very quickly, and correctly, booked for booting the ball away after the whistle and preventing a quick restart. But when Zemura later grabbed the ball and tossed it in the stand to prevent a quick throw in, nothing was done. Likewise Gary Cahill toeing a ball off towards his own corner flag long after the whistle had been blown for a foul at the other end, and Mark Travers allowing a ball to sit five yards in front of him in the penalty area, refusing to return it for a free kick on halfway. In fact, having been booked, Pearson gave Stroud a gobful, then grabbed hold of the ball and ran off with it to delay the restart for a second time, so in that instance it was an example of something that’s a yellow card on 87 minutes and 15 seconds no longer being one on 87 minutes and 20 seconds.
Let’s rattle through some of the others in vaguely chronological order… David Brooks deliberately, tactically, pulls back Chris Willock on 25 minutes as he accelerates away into dangerous space down the left – no yellow card. McCallum is fouled down the left on the stroke of half time, but it’s ok because the ball has run through to Willock and the attack is continuing – except it’s not, we’re coming back for the free kick, and players who would have been chasing to get involved in the move are now fighting, resulting in yellows for Brooks and Johansen entirely of the referee’s making. Andre Gray brings the ball down on his chest on the edge of the box, but isn’t then allowed to reach it because Kelly has got hold of his shirt with two hands – no free kick, assistant referee not doing a lot of assisting there looking straight across at it. Chris Willock is fouled, but then in going to retrieve the ball kicks out at Smith for a pretty obvious red card – yellow. The handball in the build up to the McCallum goal is a laughably terrible decision. Adam Smith, a succession of tactical fouls, injury feigning, time wasting and aggro, including the Willock incident, all the way through the final 20 minutes, but enjoying the sort of immunity we usually reserve in this country for the dipshit wives of American diplomats. Then he eventually got booked in stoppage time for some nonsense or other with Yoann Barbet, which was the absolute least of his many offences. Mark Travers blatantly clock running for all of the final half an hour, repeatedly warned with a typically big, dramatic, flouncy wave of the hands and point at the watch, but no card, and therefore no change. Why is Geoff Eltringham the only referee in this league who’s realised you can replace 30 minutes of this pointless fucking performative charade with one yellow card?
Every game he referees is like this. The constant interference, the incessent whistle, the ceaseless need to be involved - everything about his approach to the job just winds everybody involved with the game the fuck up until the whole thing inevitably spirals out of control. How many square ups, fights and stand offs do you see in the average game of Championship football, and how many did you see last night? How many times in a standard match do you see a free kick brought back because it’s not been taken in quite the right place, and how many times did that happen last night? Everything just takes So. Fucking. Long. Everything has to come with a chat, and a reposition of the ball, and a dramatic hand gesture, and a lot of pacing around, and a lot of posing, and a lot of completely needless, time-taking, strength-sapping, teeth-grinding pisballing around. Get on with it. GET. ON. WITH. IT. We are not here to see you. We are not here to see you. I’ve said it before, if you just wrote a load of decisions down on scraps of paper, and drew them out of a fucking drum once every 45 seconds for 90 minutes the game would flow better, be stopped less, and more of the calls would be correct, than if you left Keith Stroud in charge of it. If the ball was in play for 15 minutes of that second half I’d be astonished, and for it all Stroud awarded zero yellow cards for time wasting and added just four minutes to the end. A horrific referee, without a single redeeming feature, long since past the point that somebody should have called him aside for a handshake and a carriage clock, and now a complete liability. It’s getting to the point where we just shouldn’t go to the games he’s in charge of, so ruinous will his influence inevitably be on proceedings. I hate being at games he referees, actively hate it, I resent paying money to be there, I’d rather be at work, and going to football is usually the thing I enjoy most in the whole world.
Bournemouth: Travers 8; Smith 6, Cahill 6, Kelly 6, Zemura 8; Christie 7 (Mepham 86, -), Lerma 6, Billing 6; Brooks 7 (Pearson 61, 6), Solanke 7, Anthony 8 (Rogers 77, 6)
Subs not used: Nyland, Marcondes, Stacey, Lowe
Goals: Anthony 11 (unassisted), Solanke 37 (assisted Anthony)
Yellow cards: Zemura 9 (foul), Brooks 45 (refereeing error), Pearson 87 (kicking ball away), Biling 90+2 (foul), Smith 90+5 (your guess as good as mine)
QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 5 (Adomah 55, 7), Dickie 5, De Wijs 7, Barbet 6, McCallum 7; Johansen 6, Ball 5, Chair 6 (Thomas 82, -); Willock 7, Dykes 5 (Gray 55, 6)
Subs not used: Amos, Archer, Dozzell, Dunne
Goals: McCallum 57 (unassisted)
Yellow cards: Johansen 45 (refereeing error), Willock 72 (refereeing error), Barbet 90+5 (some sort of fucking nonsense)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 3 Makes you wish you were anywhere else but here.
One of QPR’s new introductions was Albert Adomah, who did more in 23 minutes than the rest of the team in the rest of the match combined, crossing first for Lyndon Dykes to score but for a blatantly obvious pull back by Scott McKenna – just the two hands round the shoulders there, not enough for our old chum Keith Stroud to spot – and then again for a real goal for the Scottish international with the final kick of the game. Two goals in open play in two away games for him after a long 23-game drought one of few positives.
Forest: Samba 6; Christie 6, Worrall 7, McKenna 6, Blackett 7; Yates 6 (Colback 81, -), Garner 8; Ameobi 6 (Freeman 77, 6), Krovinovic 8, Mighten 7; Grabban 6 (Murray 78, 6)
Subs not used: Ribeiro, Soh, Smith, Dias, Knockaert, Taylor
Goals: Mighten 44 (assisted Ameobi), Grabban 63 (assisted Krovinovic), Garener 69 (free kick won Mighten)
Bookings: Yates 32 (foul), Krovinovic 66 (foul), Christie 89 (foul)
QPR: Dieng 5; Dickie 5, Field 5 (Bettache 80, -), Barbet 4; Kakay 5, Johansen 5, Ball 4 (Dykes 60, 5), Chair 5, Wallace 5; Willock 5 (Adomah 69, 6), Austin 5 (Kelman 80, -)
Subs not used: Lumley, Bonne, Thomas, Hämäläinen
Goals: Dykes 90+4 (assisted Adomah)
Bookings: Johansen 73 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 6 Much like Jeremy Simpson on Friday in that he had precious, mercifully, little to do in a completely uncompetitive game, and yet still contrived to get big, fairly basic, decision wrong near the end with Dykes clearly pulled back in the penalty area, with two hands, round his shoulders, as he attacked a cross from the right for a very obvious penalty not given.
That was all in the first 12 minutes and the next thing I’ve written down is a fairly vintage Yoann Barbet yellow card on 31 minutes for abandoning his defensive station to clatter right through the back of an opponent on halfway – advantage was played, but it was deemed reckless enough for a card in any case by friend of the site Keith Stroud, as per that increasingly complex and complicated new rule.
A man returning the ball to play from the front row of South Africa Road with an Alan McDonald-style no nonsense clearing header, executed to perfection without his flat cap shifting an inch, immediately put him in the running for man of the match. A minute of first half stoppage time was added in which Stroud (smaller than most of the stuff that’s come out of my advent calendar) erroneously awarded Stoke a corner, realised he’d fucked up, so abandoned the game before it could be taken.
QPR: Dieng 6; Kane 5, Dickie 6, Barbet 6, Hämäläinen 6; Cameron 4, Carroll 5 (Ball 57, 5); Adomah 5 (Willock 57, 6), Chair 6, Osayi-Samuel 5; Dykes 5 (Bonne 77, 5)
Subs not used: Thomas, Masterson, Bettache, Kelman, Kelly, De Silva
Bookings: Barbet 31 (foul), Hämäläinen 50 (foul)
Stoke: Bursik 6; Collins 6, Souttar 6, Chester 6, Fox 6; Cousins 5; Ince 5, Tymon 5 (Thompson 79, 5), Powell 5 (Oakley-Boothe 82, -), McClean 5 (Verlinden 82, -); Brown 5 (Fletcher 66, 5)
Subs not used: Batth, Vokes, Smith, Shawcross, Lonergan
Bookings: Souttar 86 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 5 Perfect referee for a dreadful game, absorbed completely in his own pedantry and guesswork, and apparently thrilled to death about it.
It was all rather too much fun, and a sparse crowd was finally into the game, but there were to be a series of late scares. Dom Ball forgot himself, carried away with a Cruyff turn, and Barbet committed a deliberate foul to rescue the situation and take a yellow. Waghorn, who’d scored from similar range in the first meeting this season, stuck the free kick just over. Soon Lawrence was having a low, deflected shot pass through a crowd of legs and just wide and from that corner Waghorn headed towards goal only for Kelly to save at point blank range with his feet. More lousy marking at a corner, and a Kelly flap, and Clarke’s wildly inaccurate back post clearance induced more panic. When a ball subsequently fell to Waghorn in the right channel the far bottom corner was yawning, but he missed by a foot. With memories of Charlton snatching a 2-2 here in remarkably similar circumstances still fresh, all you could do was marvel at the carnage and hope we came out on the right side of it for once. If you could keep the self immolation down to a dull roar Rangers that would be great, we’re trying to have a nice night out here.
Legs flailing, bodies tumbling, chances coming, and going, and coming again, and now suddenly, in five added minutes at the end of the game, a man on the floor. Who’s that flat out on the deck? It’s bloody Keith Stroud, prostrate on the turf. I’ll tell you what, it’s a bloody chore finding blow darts of sufficient potency online these days but if you get a good one... This was it wasn’t it? This was how it was going to end. Keith Stroud, the division’s worst referee, unusually competent and disturbingly quiet, centre of attention after all, abandoning the game with three minutes left for play and QPR leading 2-1, returning to fitness just in time for the replay on Tuesday week which Rangers lose 1-0, to a last minute Wayne Rooney penalty, which Stroud awards, despite replays showing there’d been no foul. It was Dom Ball who clocked him I think, thus sealing his Player of the Year award for 2019/20 – sorry Eze, you’re not topping that mate.
QPR: Kelly 7; Kane 6, Hall 7, Barbet 7, Manning 7; Ball 7, Cameron 6; Osayi-Samuel 7, Eze 7, Pugh 7 (Chair 73, 7); Hugill 6 (Clarke 63, 5)
Subs not used: Lumley Wallace, Amos, Oteh, Masterson
Goals: Hall 34 (assisted Cameron), Chair 75 (assisted Eze, pre-assist Rooney)
Bookings: Kane 51 (foul), Barbet 80 (foul), Eze 90+5 (deliberate handball)
Derby: Hamer 6; Wisdom 6, Davies 5 (Bogle 71, 6), Clarke 5, Lowe 6; Bird 6, Shinnie 6 (Whittaker 79, -); Lawrence 5, Rooney 6, Waghorn 7; Marriott 5 (Martin 72, 5)
Subs not used: Forsyth, Roos, Knight, Malone
Goals: Waghorn 44 (assisted Bird)
Bookings: Waghorn 52 (unsporting)
Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 7 Goodness only knows what was going on at the end but this about as well as he’s refereed a QPR game for many a year.
QPR: Lumley 4; Kane 5, Leistner 6, Masterson 6, Manning 5; Ball 6; Clarke (Osayi-Samuel 66, 7) 4, Eze 6, Chair (Wells 74, 6) 6, Pugh 6; Hugill 5
Subs not used: Barnes, Hall, Shodipo, Cameron, Amos
Goals: Wells 90+3 (unassisted)
Bookings: Ball 60 (foul), Osayi-Samuel 86 (foul)
Sheff Wed: Dawson 6; Odubajo 6, Lees 6, Borner 6, Fox 7, Murphy 7 (Reach 72, 6), Hutchinson 6 (Hunt 54, 6), Pelupessy 6, Harris 6; Rhodes 6 (Nuhiu 76, 6), Winnall 7
Subs not used: Wildsmith, Iorfa, Borukov, Urhoghide
Goals: Fox 43 (Hutchinson), Winnall 90+1 (assisted Reach)
Referee - Keith Stroud 4: For someone who didn’t have much to do, he still managed to make a pig’s ear of it. Among the highlights were Dom Ball being booked for a pull back on a Wednesday player despite it being his first foul, then a Wednesday midfielder subsequently being let off with a warning with Stroud making a point of holding his finger in the air to indicate it was the player’s first offence. Later Ebere Eze was chopped down but the ball ran through to Chair who was in on the last defender – Stroud decided to ignore the advantage, bring play back, and then not book the player. Another bizarre performance from the worst referee in the league on a night to forget for all.
Barnsley were rightly aggrieved that play had been stopped a moment before the goal, with Geoff Cameron bang in trouble surrounded by four home players and about to lose the ball in a dangerous area, for a non-existent head injury to Amos which didn’t even require treatment. Play was restarted by the ball being handed back to Hall, who passed to Lumley and three balls later it was 1-1. If you will invite Keith Stroud to dinner, expect some inappropriate stories to be told, and his maverick stylings would have increasing impact on the game as it progressed.
There was a good tackle by Manning on Williams again to concede another corner – Stroud had a long look and think about awarding a penalty. Had he done so, I’d have been on the pitch. The first bit of good QPR play for nearly half an hour then resulted in a foul on Geoff Cameron on the edge of the box and a free kick for the unusually out of sorts Ebere Eze to shoot over – although how Osayi-Samuel sprinting into the penalty area one on one with a full back wasn’t deemed an advantage I’m not sure. Barnsley then got a big thick slice of Stroud to take into half time themselves when Leistner appeared to take down Chaplin at the near post after the Barnsley man had reached a low cross first but no penalty was awarded. I’d have wanted it. Alex Mowatt, growing in influence, had a fierce volley from the edge of the area well blocked by Cameron.
What is it now then? Four two? Ah yes, and so we began the weekly losing of the plot by Keith Stroud. Because you see what happens when you’ve got balls going off for throw ins that are obviously one way but given another, only to then be changed when players from both teams laugh at how bad the call is; and free kicks are awarded for things that aren’t free kicks, while other stuff that obviously should be penalised is waved away; and players are booked for very little while others are let off with much more; and the team that’s winning is allowed to engage in Olympic-standard levels of time wasting over every throw in, free kick and goal kick with absolutely nothing being done about it and no time added on at the end of the game; and goal celebrations are allowed to just continue unchecked at the far end of the pitch for the time of an average dinner party; and some throw ins are allowed to be taken from wherever the player chooses while others are forced under pedantic pain of death to happen on exactly the right spot; and some blatant and obvious dives are rewarded with free kicks while other players who have actually been fouled are then penalised themselves for falling on the ball; and every, single, tiny, little, fucking, bastard thing that happens in the match requires the convening of a mother’s union with intensely irritating, highly patronising, interminably long, hand-gesture infested lectures about the square root of fuck all… well then people start to get a bit aggy.
Stroud has already been booted off the league’s list once for not knowing the rule on encroachment at penalty kicks. That he’s been restored, and is still being given games at this level, is scandalous. Nothing short of that. The EFL talks a lot about “protecting the integrity of the competition” when it suits them, but it’s entirely compromised by having a lunatic like this pissflapping around for his own merriment and the general annoyance and bemusement of everybody else. When Chair dropped Brown deliberately the Barnsley player was so incensed that he stood up and threw the ball at the QPR man. Barnsley booted the ball into the main stand while a scuffle ensued. Yellow cards all round.
Soon after, Australian midfielder Ken Dougall was fouled, but Stroud decided to penalise him for handball after he’d picked the ball up to take the free kick he thought he’d been awarded. Amidst chaos entirely of the referee’s making, QPR attempted a quick free kick through to Nahki Wells who was then absolutely hacked at with a two footed horror show by Mowatt. Wells, not without just cause, reacted to the challenge and so off we went again, with one scuffle over there where Stroud had fucked up, and another scuffle down here where that had led to somebody nearly having their leg snapped off. Cards all round again. Three I think this time. It’s Christmas after all.
I wouldn’t leave this festering wank sock in charge of a remote control.
Four minutes of added time – and frankly anybody who has any idea of what they’re talking about who watched this half of multiple substitutions, prolonged goal celebrations, squabbles, time wasting and injuries and thinks four minutes is fair enough can get in the fucking sea – brought another yellow card for Grant Hall and a third QPR goal, finished neatly by Ilias Chair off a Bright Osayi-Samuel assist.
Barnsley: Sahin-Radlinger 5; Williams 6, Diaby 7, Anderson 6, Odour 6 (McGeehan 83, -); Dougall 7, Bahre 5 (Thomas 31, 7), Mowatt 7; Woodrow 8, Brown 8, Chaplin 9
Subs not used: Sibbick, Thiam, Mottley-Henry, Marsh, Collins
Goals: Chaplin 7 (assisted Brown), 18 (assisted Mowatt), 52 (assisted Woodrow), Woodrow 60 (penalty won Woodrow), Diaby 82 (assisted Brown)
Bookings: Thomas 68 (foul), Brown 81 (retaliation), Dougall 84 (handball), Mowatt 85 (dissent)
QPR: Lumley 4; Kane 4, Hall 5, Leistner 4, Wallace 3 (Wells 56, 6); Eze 4, Cameron 4 (Chair 67, 6), Amos 5, Manning 4; Osayi-Samuel 5, Hugill 6
Subs not used: Smith, Pugh, Mlakar, Ball, Barnes
Goals: Amos 12 (assisted Hugill), 54 (assisted Manning), Chair 90+4 (assisted Osayi-Samuel)
Bookings: Chair 81 (foul), Wells 85 (retaliation), Hall 89 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 4 Every circus needs a ringmaster.
Speaking of which, Keith Stroud was our referee.
Look, there have been moments, I’ll grant you that, when I haven’t been the best person I could have been. Moments I’ve regretted, things I’ve said, people I’ve upset, no-context dick pics. But I’m a good person. I’ve volunteered, I’ve given to charity, I’ve been a good son, I’ve bought fucking dinner for Shaun the homeless guy at Old Street tube station. And I don’t deserve Keith Stroud. I really don’t. I just don’t. It’s not right that he is still inflicted on me, or you, or us. There are people like Levi Bellfield still alive you know. And Ian Huntley. Send Stroud there with a book trolley and let him do his little patronising face scrunch and calm down gesture to them. We’ve done our time, we’ve served it well, we’ve enjoyed it. But we’ve had enough now. Please. Please. Mercy now. Mercy.
Keith Stroud was bored too, and that’s more problematic. Out he strode for the second half, like some testicular cancer charity had dressed up a bloke as a chode to waddle around the field and remind you to check your bollocks in the shower - as if we don’t do enough of that already thank you very much indeed. Brentford, the swines, had clocked after 45 minutes that our two centre backs are as quick as the queue at the Post Office and started knocking balls in behind them for their three forwards to chase. The first of these had Ollie Watkins, who you may remember for his recent Jack Laugher effort at Barnet in the FA Cup, the wrong side of Grant Hall and tumbling to earth in a coming together. Never a penalty in a thousand fucking years. Maupay went to the keeper’s left with the kick, which was an odd choice given that Joe Lumley has meekly flopped down to his left for every penalty he’s faced so far, and the keeper really should have saved it but didn’t. It was the fifth penalty Stroud has awarded against QPR in his last ten games with us.
Brentford: Bentley 6; Barbet 7, Konsa 7, Jeanvier 7; Dalsgaard 8, Mokotojo 8, Sawyers 8, Odubajo 7; Watkins 7 (Marcondes 81, -), Maupay 8, Benrahma 8 (Canos 82, -)
Subs not used: McEachran, Gunnarsson, Da Silva, Ogbene
Goals: Maupay 50 (penalty, won Watkins), Benrahma 71 (assisted Maupay), Canos 90+5 (assisted Mokotjo)
Bookings: Dalsgaard 67 (foul), Sawyers 77 (kicking ball away)
QPR: Lumley 7; Furlong 5, Hall 5, Leistner 5, Bidwell 5; Luongo 6, Cousins 5; Freeman 5, Eze 5 (Osayi-Samuel 63, 5), Wszolek 6 (Smith 77, 5); Wells 5 (Hemed 73, 4)
Subs not used: Ingram, Scowen, Manning, Lynch
Bookings: Hall 49 (foul), Osayi-Samuel 64 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 3 A referee 15 years on the job and at least five years past his sell-by date. When he was removed from the list two seasons ago for thinking encroachment at a penalty was a free kick to the defending team rather than a retake at Newcastle v Burton that should have been it. Thanks for the long service Keith, carriage clock, now fuck off. But still he’s here, still refereeing Championship games, still overruling correct decisions from linesmen and replacing them with incorrect ones, still penalising tiny little indiscretions while waving play on through players being elbowed in the back of the head, still awarding nonsense penalties, still treating each of his escalating disasters with that same patronising grimace and ‘calm down’ hand gesture to anybody who complains about them. The personification of short man syndrome – a tiny man with a tiny penis and a chip on both shoulders. An absolute liability. Little short of a scandal that he’s still officiating at this level despite mounting evidence that he’s simply not up to it. Refereeing’s Chris Grayling.
There was what looked a very reasonable shout for a penalty from Ellis Harrison in the far corner of the School End penalty box in three minutes of stoppage time. As we know though, Keith Stroud doesn’t exist to get big decisions right, he exists to make sure that every single one of the little decisions is taken from exactly the blade of grass the infringement occurred on or the ball left the field across. No, there. Not there, there. Over there. No, there. There. There. No, not there, not there either, take it back, take it back, take it back over there, no there. There. There. Right, stop, take it again. Take it over there. On that blade there. There. There. There. I swear that pedantic little arsehole is only still refereeing at all because his wife can’t stand him being around the house, straightening the pictures and moving the fucking ornaments half an inch to the left all the live long day.
QPR: Lumley 7; Furlong 7, Leistner 7, Lynch 7, Bidwell 7; Luongo 8, Scowen 7; Wszolek 8, Eze 6 (Chair 70, 7), Freeman 7 (Osayi-Samuel 88. -); Wells 8 (Oteh 84, -)
Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Smith
Goals: Wszolek 30 (assisted Wells), Lynch 32 (assisted Freeman), Wells 74 (assisted Chair)
Bookings: Wszolek 43 (foul)
Ipswich: Gerken 3; Spence 5, Chambers 4, Pennington 5, Knudsen 5; Nolan 4 (Roberts 70, 5), Chalobah 6, Downes 5; Ward 5 (Lankester 62, 5), Harrison 5, Sears 5
Subs not used: Edwards, Jackson, Dozzell, Kenlock, Bialkowksi
Bookings: Chambers 4 (foul). Spence 49 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 6 Nothing major wrong, but ends up taking long pauses followed by a complete guess at a decision far, far too often for somebody trusted to referee at this level and his pedantry over the placement of every single free kick and throw in and exactly the right place could drain the life from a hyper-active eight-year-old.
The sending off really colours this one against Holloway, his team and the approach they took. It was a red card as well – Nathan Baker airborne, two feet, scissor motion, hours late on Josh Scowen as the two chased a loose ball in midfield. Daft tackle in the modern game and current climate, daft tackle in the 1970s come to that. A proper Mark Dennis vintage. There’s a replay of it from behind where the facial expression of Baker’s team mate Joe Bryan tells you everything you need to know.
City: Steele 6; Wright 7, Flint 6, Baker 5; Bryan 8, Kent 6 (Magnusson 64, 6); Pack 7, Smith 7, Paterson 7 (Brownhill 64, 7); Reid 7, Diedhiou 7 (Diony 74, 6)
Subs not used: Walsh, Woodrow, Eliasson, Wollacott
Goals: Diedhiou 45+1 (assisted Paterson), Bryan 66 (assisted Diedhiou)
Red Cards: Baker 32 (serious foul play)
Yellow Cards: Reid 84 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 6; Baptiste 3 (Smith 46, 5), Onuoha 5, Robinson 6; Furlong 5 (Osayi-Samuel 74, 5), Bidwell 5; Scowen 5, Luongo 5, Freeman 5; Oteh 5 (Eze 74, 5), Washington 5
Subs not used: Lynch, Ingram, Manning, Perch
Yellow Cards: Luongo 80 (foul), Smith 83 (repetitive fouling), Onuoha 83 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 7 Sending off absolutely correct despite lack of appeals (why are we the only team that doesn't surround referees?) and although the free kick for the first goal was harsh they always get given.
Millwall: Archer 6; Romeo 7, Hutchinson 7, Cooper 7, Meredith 7; Wallace 8, Tunnicliffe 6, Saville 7, O’Brien 6 (Williams 69, 6); Morison 7, Gregory 7 (Onyedinma 81, -)
Subs not used: Craig, Thompson, Martin, Twardek, Mbulu
Goals: Morison 55 (assisted Wallace)
Bookings: Cooper 90 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 6; Baptiste 6, Onuoha 6, Hall 6; Wszolek 5 (Smith 56, 5), Bidwell 6; Luongo 5, Cousins 5, Freeman 6; Osayi-Samuel 6 (Oteh 69, 6), Sylla 5 (Wheeler 81, -)
Subs not used: Furlong, Washington, Manning, Lumley
Bookings: Wszolek 51 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 8 Really, very good. A terrifying appointment when it was announced, given his recent record with QPR and his now out dated and always frustrating method of trying to manage games with lots of early cards, but he controlled this well, only produced two wholly justified bookings and overall was very decent. Points off for allowing Jordan Archer to blatantly run the clock in the second half without so much as a warning – not that he needed to – and for an incident in the first half where he saw Steve Morison hold back Grant Hall in the area preventing him getting out to block a cross and pointed at the Millwall man telling him not to do it again but didn’t award Rangers a free kick even though the home team had the ball and were threatening a goal. Kept a lid on a tough game.
United kept visiting that left side, where Jordan Cousins was having a difficult evening as a makeshift right wing back. He saw yellow, perhaps harshly, from referee Keith Stroud, then in extended first half stoppage time got skinned again by Brooks only for Alex Smithies to rescue him by diving headlong through the ensuing six-yard-box scramble to claim the ball and kill the chance.
QPR: Smithies 7; Baptiste 8, Robinson 8, Bidwell 7; Cousins 5 (Furlong 57, 7), Wheeler 6 (Manning 87, -); Scowen 7, Luongo 7, Freeman 7; Sylla 6 (Mackie 67, 6), Washington 6
Subs not used: Smith, Wszolek, Ngbakoto, Lumley
Goals: Sylla 4 (assisted Baptiste)
Yellows: Cousins 28 (foul), Scowen 90+1 (foul)
Sheff Utd: Blackman – (Moore 10, 5); Basham 6, Carter-Vickers 5, O’Connell 6; Baldock 6 (Duffy 60, 6), Stevens 6; Lundstram 6, Coutts 6, Brooks 7; Clarke 4, Donaldson 5 (Sharp 56, 6)
Subs not used: Hanson, Stearman, Lafferty, Carruthers
Yellows: Clarke 29 (foul), Brooks 90+1 (unsporting)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 6 After a couple of seasons of hammering QPR (four penalties awarded against us and three of our players sent off in seven matches) we actually got the rub of a bit of green from him on Tuesday – particularly two obvious fouls on their wingers on the Ellerslie Road side of the ground in dangerous positions right at the end of the first half which drew justified ire from the large travelling support. Cousins booking harsh, Clarke booking justified but didn’t feel like it was coming until the crowd went a bit mental, called the Brooks thing right at the end of the game – not a red card. Fine, relatively. I suspect a Sheff Utd fan would give him a four.
With the home crowd sensing Fulham could be here for the taking, referee Keith Stroud then happened, as he so often does. Sone Aluko dribbled into the area and hit the deck under the faintest of tickles from Bidwell.
Despite having a good view of the incident, Stroud looked for assistance from his linesman Mark Pottage, who seized his moment in the spotlight on Sky Sports to wave his flag enthusiastically. The only thing missing was a wink to the camera.
Thankfully, when a penalty is awarded against QPR the opposition team have as much chance as scoring as they do from a corner. You may as well just roll it back to him, lads. Save yourself the embarrassment. Smithies knew he was going to save it. Martin knew he was going to save it. And guess what? Smithies saved it. Martin struck the spot-kick with power and good direction but the QPR stopper flung himself to his right and tipped the ball to safety. Smithies has now saved six of his last 10 penalties faced and a seventh struck the post. It’s simply an outrageous record.
There was another flashpoint minutes later when Cairney, sick of being stalked by Manning, reacted by shoving the QPR youngster. Stroud’s decided to book Cairney, Joel Lynch and Martin for their part in the handbags.
QPR: Smithies 8; Furlong 7, Onuoha 7, Lynch 7, Bidwell 7; Manning 8, Hall 7 (Perch 90, -) Luongo 8; Mackie 7 (Lua-Lua 83, 6), Wszolek 7, Sylla 7 (Washington 68, 5)
Subs not used: Ingram, Doughty, Shodipo, Ngbakoto
Goals: Manning 25 (unassisted)
Bookings: Furlong (foul), Luongo (foul), Manning (foul), Sylla (handball), Lynch (fighting)
Fulham: Button 6; Ream 6, Kalas 7, McDonald 5; Fredericks 5 (Odoi 45, 6), Malone 6; Johansen 6, Cairney 6, Piazon 7 (Sessegnon 77, 6); Aluko 6 (Smith 88,-), Martin 6
Subs not used: Sigurdsson, Parker, Bettinelli, Madl
Goals: Martin 75 (assisted Cairney)
Bookings: Fredericks (dissent), Cairney (pushing), Martin (fighting)
Referee – Keith Stroud (West Mids) 3 Three QPR appointments this season, 19 yellows, two reds and two opposition penalties. Overall this season he’s booked 144 players and sent 11 off in just 29 games. Puts himself under pressure early in games – here by awarding the ludicrous Fulham penalty for an obvious dive, and showing a very harsh yellow card to Darnell Furlong. That sets the standards of what is a foul and what is a yellow card ridiculously low, and means you end up with another eight booked and a final ten minutes littered with scuffles, fights and touchline rows between frustrated players and managers. He’s been in the game a long time, and it’s probably about time the kit bag went in the cupboard under the stairs for good – a referee in alarming form.
In fact it took until the fifty second minute to put the seal on it. Seven minutes of constant pressure from Hughton’s side after half time drew a rash tackle from Massimo Luongo on Dale Stephens in the area – Murray, unperturbed by Alex Smithies’ five penalty saves during 2016, coolly and crisply smacking the ball into the bottom corner from the penalty spot.
QPR had good reason to feel aggrieved with a sending off just before the hour. A ball through the wide open spaces between QPR centre halves Nedum Onuoha and Grant Hall gave Baldock a sniff but Onuoha recovered his initial lousy positioning and simply had more strength than the Brighton man who crashed to earth as the pair came together shoulder to shoulder. Barely a foul at all, and yet somehow deemed worthy of a red card by Keith Stroud, an absolute cum rag of a referee who wouldn’t be able to keep control of a meeting of the Cleethorpes and District Knitting Circle without yellow carding at least six of the members and gently patronising three of the others.
So far so predictable, from Brighton, from Stroud, and from our beleaguered Queens Park Rangers. Every defeat is treated like the outbreak of Ebola in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in this age of social media and the babies were getting nervous in their bathwater long before the full time whistle.
Brighton: Stockdale 6; Bruno 7, Dunk 6, Duffy 6, Bong 6; Knockaert 7, Stephens 7, Norwood 8, March 8 (Murphy 68, 6); Murray 8 (Hamed 71, 6), Baldock 7 (Skalak 77, 6)
Subs not used: Mäenpää, Sidwell, Goldson, Hunt
Goals: Baldock 11 (assisted Stephens), Murray 53 (penalty won Stephens), Knockaert 69 (assisted Murray)
QPR: Smithies 5; Perch 2, Onuoha 3, Hall 5, Bidwell 5; Borysiuk 5 (Mackie 59, 5) Cousins 5 (Sandro 80, -), Luongo 4; Ngbakoto 4 (Kakay 81, -), Wzsolek 5, Sylla 5
Subs not used: Washington, Ingram, Shodipo, El Khayati
Red Cards: Onuoha 56 (professional foul)
Bookings: Sylla 80 (dissent)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 5 Penalty decision obviously correct, and thankfully no repeat of the card frenzy from his last QPR appointment, or his last Brighton one for that matter, but the Onuoha red card is an absolute crock of shit. Bad defending certainly, but barely a foul at all let alone a sending off. Whoever is in charge of the newly professionalised Championship referees need to be asking why one of them feels the need to book and dismiss so many more players than any of his colleagues – now 117 yellows and nine reds from this official in just 25 matches this season.
To make matters worse, Rangers had also been reduced to ten men just before the goal. Now Keith Stroud has been on the refereeing circuit a long time, and at one point was something of a lucky official for QPR who avoided defeat in their first ten outings with him over several years. But he’s been a growing pain in the arse of late, starting a few years ago on this ground when a second Forest goal to seal the game was allowed despite the linesman flagging it offside. Last year at MK Dons he awarded two penalties to the hosts, and denied QPR a cast iron one of their own. He’s always had a touch of the short-man syndrome about him, but he’s started to referee games these days like somebody who doesn’t actually enjoy refereeing any more, or football at all in fact, and only keeps doing it because his wife can’t stand him fussing around the house all Saturday afternoon. If that is the case, somebody get this lunatic an allotment or something quick.
This was a game with one proper tackle in it. Midway through the second half James Perch channelled the evil side of Mark Dennis into a flying, airborne lunge over by the dugouts which took the ball clean as a whistle but, a quarter of a second earlier or later, would have clocked up a reasonable death toll. There wasn’t even a free kick awarded for that and yet through the rest of a fairly tame game physically Stroud contrived to show two red cards and ten yellows.
He’d lost control of the thing with time still in single figures. Karl Henry penalised for handball on halfway when a) it looked like the Forest guy had handled it and b) Henry had fairly obviously been pushed under the ball in the first place. Henry was then shown a yellow card for his dissent to the decision and QPR captain Nedum Onuoha was forced into three prolonged chats with the official in as many minutes as one curious decision after another went Forest’s way.
Henry is an experienced player though, and his behaviour over the following 20 minutes was utterly brain dead. Every stoppage, every break in play, every injury, Henry was back to the referee, in his face, arguing the toss, telling him how wrong he’d been. It was like Joey Barton all over again, burning with some sense of injustice and unable to concentrate on his game or think about anything else. At different points Seb Polter, Onuoha and even Alex Smithies took Henry by the arm and forcibly led him away from the official. It was a red card waiting to happen and that particularly time bomb went off just before the half hour when he tripped Lansbury as he accelerated into a dangerous area.
Should he have been booked in the first place? No. Could the referee have let him off with a final warning for the second one? Yes. But honestly, after Henry moaned and bitched his way through 20 minutes of football I suspect Stroud was just glad of the chance to get rid of him. Totally unprofessional, and no kind of reward to a manager whose faith in Henry has been unshakable through a catalogue of poor performances and supporter criticism. Again, it felt apt that Henry would let Hasselbaink and his team mates down to this extent on the Dutchman’s last day in the job. The idea that Henry should have been cut loose when his contract expired in the summer, as several better players were, carries more weight than Lisa Riley.
Two abysmal teams and a dreadful referee, pure Championship stuff, but it had been an uplifting final half hour from Rangers winning them a point they more than deserved.
Forest: Stojkovic 4; Pereira 5, Mills 5, Perquis 6, Lichaj 6; Worrall 6, Kasami 6, Cohen 5 (Lam 82, -), Lansbury 6, Osborn 5; Asombalonga 7 (Vellios 90+3, -)
Subs not used: Dumitru, Fox, Lica, Henderson, Grant
Goals: Assombalonga 38 (assisted Kasami)
Red Cards: Pereira 71 (two bookings, see below)
Bookings: Deep breath… Worrall 50 (foul), Stojkovic 61 (time wasting), Pereira 66 (time wasting), Cohen 68 (foul), Pereira 71 (foul), Lichaj 90+3 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 6, Onouha 5, Hall 6, Robinson 6 (El Khayati 84, -); Henry 3, Cousins 6; Wzsolek 5 (Shodipo 55, 7), Chery 5, Washington 6 (Sylla 77, 7); Polter 6
Subs not used: Lynch, Gladwin, Ingram, Hamalainen
Goals: Sylla 85 (assisted El Khayati)
Red Cards: Henry 34 (two bookings, see below)
Bookings: Henry 11 (dissent), Henry 34 (foul), Robinson 67 (foul), Sylla 86 (over celebrating)
Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 2 Just such utter, utter bullshit from the very first whistle to the last. Ten yellow cards and two reds in a game without a serious foul in it. Seven minutes of stoppage time. Long, drawn out conversations with players over every incident. Yellow cards flashed to players where, even with the benefit of watching it back on the video afterwards, you couldn’t possibly fathom why. Lost control of this with the time still in single figures and never regained it. A nonsense display, completely inept, maddening, farcical. Two poor teams and a shite referee, that’ll be £25 a ticket please – Championship.
Around the hour mark Blackburn completely took over the game, starting with a free kick from a mindless foul by Perch on Marshall for which was rightly yellow carded by referee Keith Stroud. That led to the first of several goal mouth scrambles which Alex Smithies was able to defuse by falling on a loose ball a yard out. Within two minutes Smithies was diving left to parry a long distance volley from Marshall and when the resulting corner was delivered from that, the ball again spent an age bouncing and bobbling around perilously close to the QPR goal with nobody able to apply a killer touch.
No footballer in the world likes playing against pace, no football team in the world likes it when their opponents are popping the ball around and attacking with speed and purpose. And yet QPR, and the game, ambled along at an arthritic pace.
Referee Keith Stroud didn’t help this – allowing Charlie Mulgrew to piss around on the field for a good minute in the first half while play was stopped so Rovers could prepare a substitute to go on instead of him. Start the game and let them play with ten until he’s ready for goodness sake. He managed to find five yellow cards in a match of only one bad tackle (by James Perch) – Mo Shodipo booked for the tackle of the game in the second half.
QPR: Smithies 6; Perch 6, Onuoha 6, Hall 6, Bidwell 6; Henry 5, Cousins 6; Shodipo 7, Chery 6, El Khayati 5 (Sylla 80, -); Polter 5 (Washington 46, 6)
Subs not used: Borysiuk, Kakay, Ingram, Paul, Caulker
Goals: Chery 65 (free kick, won Washington)
Bookings: Shodipo 50 (foul), Perch 61 (foul)
Blackburn: Steele 7; Lowe 6, Hoban 6, Greer 6, Wiliams 6; Mulgrew 5 (Evans 34, 6); Conway 7, Akpan 6, Marshall 6, Gallagher 6 (Emnes 77, 5); Graham 5 (Samuelsen 83, -)
Subs not used: Feeney, Byrne, Guthrie, Raya
Goals: Gallagher (assisted Evans)
Bookings: Williams 42 (foul), Akpan 47 (kicking ball away), Lowe 65 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 6 Just annoying really. Nothing that wrong, although the booking for Shodipo looked a bit of a joke to me. Just a bit picky, further hampering the pace of an already sluggish game.
Jake Forster-Caskey was booked for diving in the penalty area by referee Keith Stroud after just four minutes but it took until 35 for the hosts to register their first shot on goal – Darren Potter’s effort so ridiculously high and wide that it might still be travelling now.
Konchesky, at left back, meanwhile, turned in a performance that could bring a grown man to tears. Even QPR, who’ve picked the loaned left back remorselessly this season, seemed to have finally accepted he’s finished in recent weeks. Having been pressed back into action here, and performed like this, it’s probably time he did the same. His rash tackle on Josh Murphy, when the MK player was going nowhere and posing little threat, was an obvious penalty award for Keith Stroud to make and he was lucky that Alex Smithies, as he had done at Hillsborough last week, saved Murphy’s shot low to his left.
Decent play from Luongo set Chery up for a first time volley that he skied over the bar threatened some sort of rally and Rangers really should have been given a chance to equalise 12 minutes before the end when Lewington lost his footing trying to get across to deny Perch a shot at the far post and deliberately thrust an arm up above his head to claw the ball away for a corner. An obvious handball, a definite penalty, but referee Stroud was poorly positioned to see it and when he needed help from his linesman Ashvin Degnarain the official inexplicably signalled for a corner kick. Scary to think he’s probably allowed to be out there on the road with eyesight and cognitive functions as poor as this. One of the worst decisions you’ll see. Not even a difficult one to get right.
Stroud had rather made a rod for his own back in the first hour, whistling for absolutely every little bit of physical contact on any player. The MK Dons players realised a lot quicker than the QPR ones that if you brushed past an opponent and went down you’d likely be awarded a free kick. In all, QPR conceded 21 fouls across the 90 minutes here and it’s actually hard to recall them making a single sliding tackle in the entire game. Indeed the booking they did get was given to Karl Henry for the crime of retrieving the ball for a throw in and being started on by Murphy. Another perplexing piece of officiating.
In those circumstances you couldn’t really blame Samir Carruthers for trying his luck with a flop in the area – a second MK Dons yellow card of the game for simulation was his reward. Especially because, in stoppage time, Ryan Hall went down in similarly theatrical style as Henry turned away from him in the box and another penalty was awarded.
Substitute Ben Reeves took the spot kick this time and lashed it straight down the middle into the net. A vital win for MK Dons at the bottom of the league; back to the drawing board for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and his team.
MK Dons: Martin 6; Baldock 6, McFadzean 6, Kay 6, Lewington 6; Forster-Caskey 6 (Reeves 89, -), Potter 6, Murphy 5 (Hall 87, -), Bowditch 6; Williams 7; Revell 6
Subs not used: Powell, Cropper, Spence, Maynard
Goals: Lewington 49 (assisted Bowditch), Reeves (penalty 90+3 won Hall)
Bookings: Forster Caskey 4 (diving), Murphy 79 (unsporting conduct) Carruthers 89 (diving)
QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 5, Angella 5, Hall 6 (Konchesky 46, 2), Perch 5; Henry 5, Tozser 5 (Phillips 58, 5); Chery 5 (Polter 71, 6), Luongo 6, El Khayati 5; Washington 5
Subs not used: Faurlin, Ingram, Diakite, Petrasso
Bookings: Henry 79 (nothing very much at all)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 4 Perhaps somebody should check whether everything is alright at home. Five separate penalty incidents here, two yellow cards for diving which looked about right, one penalty awarded against Konchesky which was the correct decision, one awarded against Karl Henry which was soft and one blatant handball from Lewington that was missed entirely. Chuck in his insistence that every piece of physical contact in the game was a foul, and the yellow card for Karl Henry when he’d done little more than stand there and have a home player try to start a fight with him, and this was a bit of a farce all in all.
Little to choose between the sides then, and so it continued after half time. Rangers appealed in vain to referee Keith Stroud that a swift counter attack between Faurlin and Tjaronn Chery had been interrupted illegally by a Hull hand as they tried to free Matt Phillips. Hull, meanwhile, continued to get Clucas, and on this occasion Robertson, free at the far post as balls were delivered from the right flank. Onuoha got across to block Robertson’s volley on the hour.
The opening goal, when it came, reflected the extra quality in the Hull team, rather than the balance of play. QPR have Karl Henry in midfield, who certainly can’t ever be accused of hiding or not trying - despite now constant barracking from his own supporters which must have some effect on his performances – but also isn’t going to be troubling the notepads of too many scouts too soon. Hull, meanwhile, have Diame who was able to first catch Henry in possession, then shrug him aside, and then accelerate away from him into space in the QPR half without challenge far, far, far too easily. Given time to pick a cross he skilfully selected Abel Hernandez whose gentle finish from the edge of the area made the whole thing look very easy.
Referee Stroud might have done more to break up a prolonged, gratuitous, prayer meeting among the Hull players in the penalty area in the aftermath – and several flagrant examples of timewasting thereafter – but in the end he settled for merely adding five minutes to the end of the match and by the end of that we wished he hadn’t bothered at all.
QPR: Green 2; Onuoha 5, Hall 6, Angella 6, Konchesky 6; Faurlin 6, Henry 5 (Fer 71, 4); Phillips 6, Chery 6 (Luongo 85, -), Hoilett 6 (Mackie 78, 6); Polter 6
Subs not used: Smithies, Tozser, Diakite, Petrasso
Goals: Polter 86 (assisted Phillips)
Yellow Cards: Hoilett 73 (foul), Angella 90+1 (foul)
Hull City: McGregor 6; Odubajo 6, Davies 6, Maguire 6, Robertson 7; Elmohamady 5 (Snodgrass 65, 6), Livermore 6, Diame 6 (Diomande 86, -), Clucas 7; Hernandez 6 (Huddlestone 81, -), Meyler 6
Subs not used: Taylor, Maloney, Jukupovic, Aluko
Goals: Hernandez 61 (assisted Diame), Diomande 90 (assisted Green)
Yellow Cards: Maguire 34 (foul)
Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 7 Controlled the game reasonably well, all cards justified, but could have clamped down more on the time wasting at 1-0. Mind you, he did add five minutes, which we now rather wish he hadn’t.
At one stage you might have considered Keith Stroud a lucky referee for QPR. He refereed three 3-0 wins for the R’s in the 2010/11 promotion season (Ipswich A, Boro A, Sheff Utd H) awarding us two penalties, although one of those, at Portman Road, would have been the goal of the season for Akos Buzsaky if he hadn’t whistled so quickly. That meant as QPR entered the Premier League and left him behind, they departed with a record of six wins, four draws and zero defeats from ten games with Stroud, with two penalties awarded in their favour, and 2-0 in our favour on the red card count. Since returning to this level, however, games with this official have often turned to farce, and Rangers have rarely emerged from that victorious. The record over the last ten years is W3 D5 L12, with the penalty count 6-0 against, and the red cards 4-1 in the opposition’s favour.
So far this season Stroud has shown 58 yellows (3.625) and no reds in 16 games. He was born in Bournemouth, but is down on the list as Luton Town fan so is allowed to referee the Cherries’ games. He was in charge for the first meeting this season, with Bournemouth won 2-1, taking his record with them to P11 W10 D1 L0. That includes three wins and a draw last season, when he finished up with 106 yellows and two reds from 38 appointments.
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