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Bond in charge of Leeds clash - Referee
Tuesday, 23rd Apr 2024 11:08 by Clive Whittingham

Premier League referee Darren Bond is the man entrusted with Friday night’s televised clash between QPR and Leeds.

Referee >>> Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Assistants >>> Ian Hussin (Merseyside) and Wade Smith (Stockport)

Fourth Official >>> Tom Nield (West Yorkshire), refereed QPR’s recent defeat at Hull.


Rotherham 3 QPR 1, Saturday March 4, 2023, Championship

Still, at least Dunne was up for a bit of a battle with him. Whenever Hugill pulled onto Dickie it was like watching a lion try to fuck a sheep. The lead was doubled on 70 minutes when Dickie got himself in all kinds of strife trying to mark Hugill under a cross from the right, hauled him over for a blatant penalty, and then could only stand and watch as the striker converted the kick himself.

Taylor Richards ambled on for the last 20 minutes or so and did make a difference. For the first time really Rangers were able to get the ball down and play, and try a few passes to unlock the home defence rather than brute force. One such crossfield pass got another sub, Sinclair Armstrong, in down the left and the tackle on him as he reached the byline by Wes Harding was stupid, needless, dangerous, a very thick yellow card, and an obvious penalty. Jamal Lowe, a foot or so wide with an earlier sighter from 20 yards, converted well to set up a potential big finish but, as at Middlesbrough when the same thing happened, it ultimately succeeded only in keeping the away fans captive a little longer, this time just enough to miss the tram back into town, and experience disappointment afresh all over again. As at the Riverside there was a chance to salvage a miraculous draw. Then it was Chris Martin having a goalbound volley blocked on the line, here it was Jimmy Dunne, who’d curled Rangers’ best chance of the half wide of the far post from the corner of the six yard box 20 minutes prior, striding onto a Kakay cross and sidefooting over when he really had to score. Three one followed soon after, as it had in the North East the previous fortnight. Sinclair Armstrong's late consolation was ruled out for offside.

Rotherham: Johansson 7; Harding 5, Wright 6, Humphrys 6, Hjelde 7; Coventry 6, Odoffin 7, Fosu 8 (Washington 89, -); Ogbene 8 (Kioso 90+5, -), Hugill 8 (Kelly 89, -), Ferguson 6 (Lindsay 75, 6)

Subs not used: Bramall, Eaves, Vickers

Goals: Hugill 15 (assisted Ogbene), 70 (penalty, won Hugill), Odoffin 90 (assisted Kelly)

Bookings: Harding 82 (foul)

QPR: Dieng 5; Kakay 2, Dickie 1, Dunne 3, Drewe 5; Iroegbunam 3 (Richards 64, 6), Johansen 5, Field 5; Adomah 4 (Armstrong 65, 6), Martin 4, Lowe 4

Subs not used: Archer, Dozzell, Dickson-Bonner, Aurora Borealis

Goals: Lowe 83 (penalty, won Armstrong)

Bookings: Adomah 42 (attempting to retrieve his own first touch from the canal), Field 49 (foul), Dickie 69 (foul)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 6 All three penalty decisions in the game correct. The Hugill red card, like I say I saw once at the time and thought it was a yellow card, haven’t managed to catch a replay yet to look at whether it’s an open palm of a clenched fist but he doesn’t get a replay. I did think he got rather too sucked into some of the gamesmanship going on in that ten minute period, Hugill twice collapsing to the ground with a “head injury” to get the game halted only to then leap up and berate the official once he had stopped the play was worthy of more action than simply giving QPR a drop ball with Rotherham now all back behind the ball and ready to face us. Overall not too bad.

Reading 2 QPR 2, Saturday January 14, 2023, Championship

Had referee Darren Bond — sans Alice band these days, coward — awarded Reading the penalty they wanted for Jimmy Dunne’s clumsy effort on Shane Long at the start of the half then the whole thing would have become an academic exercise. I’d have wanted it, from the other end it looked blatant, but Bond’s overall performance, which included that lesser-spotted effective early yellow card for time-wasting, was one of the best we’ve seen from an official this season and Long’s dive was well spotted from a much closer view than the one I had.

Reading: Lumley 6; Yiadom 6, Holmes 6, Sarr 6; Loum 6 (McIntyre 61, 5); Hoilett 6 (Dann 61, 5), Hendrick 7, Hutchinson 5 (Long 15, 6 (Meite 78, 5)), Rahman 6; Ince 6, Carroll 7 (Joao 78, 5)

Subs not used: Bouzanis, Mbengue

Goals: Hendrick 28 (assisted Long), 42 (assisted Yiadom)

Bookings: Rahman 41 (foul), Yiadom 72 (time wasting)

QPR: Dieng 4; Laird 7, Dunne 6, Dickie 6, Paal 6; Iroegbunam 5 (Dozzell 90+4, -), Field 6; Roberts 7 (Richards 86, -), Chair 6, Willock 5 (Lowe 64, 7); Dykes 6

Subs not used: Kakay, Clarke-Salter, Archer, Adomah

Goals: Roberts 66 (assisted Lowe), Roberts 80 (assisted Laird)

Bookings; Dickie 27 (foul), Richards 87 (foul)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 8 I pointed out the other week that, post-pandemic, they really seem to be trying to cut down on distances travelled by officials. This means we get lumbered with the Southern-based officials more often than not which in a very northern-based league means a lot of Gavin Ward, and a hell of a lot of Keith Stroud as he’s listed as a Luton fan so can’t do their games limiting his options still further. We’ve already had half a dozen appointments with those two this season, while for Lancashire based Darren Bond this was only a second QPR appointment in two years (Stroud, meanwhile, had to take a trip all the way up to Sunderland for only the second time in five years, and that went as well as one might expect). A shame, because this was also the best refereeing display we’ve had in one of our games for months. Paul Ince fumes about the Shane Long penalty appeal and at the time, from the other end of the ground, I thought it was blatant as well, but you look at the replay and you can see the referee is right — Long, an experienced player, jumps across the front of his man to initiate and exaggerate the contact. A nice early booking for time wasting as well, when it does serve as a deterrent and make an impact on the behaviour. Very good. Made a nice change.

Sheff Utd 1 QPR 0, Tuesday April 5, 2022, Championship

Sheff Utd: Foderingham N/A; Baldock 6, Uremovic 7 (Robinson 63, 6), Egan 6, Davies 6, Stevens 6; Berge 8 (Osborn 83, -), Norwood 7, Fleck 7; Gibbs-White 8, McBurnie 7 (Jebbison 72, 5)

Subs not used: Davies, Hourihane, Ndiaye, Norrington-Davies

Bookings: Uremovic 51 (foul), Fleck 87 (foul)

Goals: Norwood 9 (assisted Fleck)

QPR: Westwood 5; Adomah 4, Dunne 6, Dickie 5, Barbet 6, Wallace 5 (McCallum 72, 6); Field 6, Hendrick 5 (Dozzell 68, 5), Chair 6; Gray 5 (Thomas 68, 6), Dykes 5

Subs not used: Amos, Austin, Sanderson, Mahoney

Bookings: Dickie 12 (foul), Hendrick 58 (foul), Field 80 (foul)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 7 Really good example of how the rules, or at least the modern interpretation of them, can hang the officials. Moment in the first half where a long ball over the top set Gibbs-White away, clearly and obviously offside, but the linesman felt duty bound to let him chase after it anyway, drawing Westwood out of the area for a clash between the two with all the injury implications that entails, before putting the flag up. Total nonsense, to the point of being a farce, that makes the linesman look like a complete idiot, but that’s the way we have to do it now apparently. Two minutes later a ball that had pretty obviously gone out for a throw in was waved play on by mistake — not a particularly big or important error, pretty obvious and not difficult to get right but nobody died — and now the home fans were up in arms, everything the officials did met with a wave of catcalls and abuse. Actually, bar the usual complaint about a total lack of policing of the clock running (did add six minutes though), I thought they were reasonably decent here, certainly by the appalling standards of recent weeks.

QPR 2 Bournemouth 1, Saturday February 20, 2021, Championship

A draw seemed likely from that moment on. Referee Darren Bond had been woefully inconsistent with the cards in the first half, letting Wallace off with an obvious yellow then very harshly carding Mepham for far less, and he continued in the same vein in waving away a pretty obvious shove on Dom Ball down by the corner flag only to then give a free kick to Surridge on the edge of the QPR box for an almost identical incident. Stanislas hit the wall with that effort, and then arrogantly wasted another well positioned dead ball after Kane’s vital tactical foul on Surridge, attempting to beat Dieng from 35 yards on a difficult angle rather than just crossing the ball. Chairman of his own fan club that lad.

QPR: Dieng 7; Dickie 8, Cameron 7, Barbet 7; Kane 7, Ball 7, Johansen 7 (Field 59, 7), Chair 5 (Bonne 72, 5), Wallace 6 (Hämäläinen 59, 6); Austin 5 (Willock 59, 7), Dykes 5 (Adomah 72, 6)

Subs not used: Kakay, Lumley, Bettache, Kelman

Goals: Johansen 59 (assisted Mepham), Kane 83 (assisted Adomah)

Bookings: Barbet 27 (foul), Chair 37 (foul), Kane 81 (foul)

AFCB: Begovic 6; Mepham 5, Carter Vickers 6, Kelly 6; Smith 6, Cook 7 (Groeneveld 86, -), Lerma 6, Stanislas 5; Billing 7, Long 6, Wilshere 5 (Surridge 67, 6)

Subs not used: Riquelme, Rico, Pearson, Travers, Kilkenny, Anthony, Zemura

Goals: Long 68 (assisted Surridge)

Bookings: Mepham 45+1 (foul)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancs) 6 Well certainly a vast improvement on the nonsense he chucked out at Cardiff last month, but still some maddening inconsistencies. How on earth Wallace wasn’t booked for clattering through Smith in the first half leaving him with a dead leg was a mystery only deepened by Mepham then being booked for far less. Likewise the pretty obvious foul on Dom Ball by the corner flag he ignored, only to then immediately award Surridge a dangerous free kick at the other end for a near identical offence.

Cardiff 0 QPR 1, Wednesday January 20, 2021, Championship

After four minutes Todd Kane crossed into the penalty area towards Lyndon Dykes. Cardiff’s captain Sean Morrison — missing since picking up an injury in a Christmas defeat at Wycombe (yes, really) — marked his return to the side by getting rather confusled underneath it and ended up intercepting the ball with an outstretched hand. Under the new, rather stern, interpretation of the handball rules - all silhouettes and natural body shape - this was a penalty kick. Under the old, rather louche, interpretation of the handball rules - all accidental v deliberate and how the offender was in himself at the time of the incident — this was a penalty kick. Referee Darren Bond, who won his participation in this match in a raffle at his local independent supermarket, stared straight at the incident from a distance of some ten yards and did nothing about it. Shame, Dykes v Alex Smithies would have been quite something.

Anyway that was half time, and a wonderful opportunity to shake hands on a point and get back on the bus. Nobody wanted more of this, not those involved in the increasingly biblical conditions, not those at home slipping in and out of consciousness, not the managers who’d both be able to talk up a point fairly convincingly post match, and not the referee who was carrying himself like the victim of a rather severe concussion.

He needed to be good here because Geoff Cameron, on a difficult day personally, spent the second half on a one-man red card mission. Bond perhaps took pity on a loss of footing, showing only a yellow for a wild and high challenge on 48 minutes, though it was difficult to really follow Bond’s thinking from one blunder to the next. Andy Sinton made that teeth sucking noise he does when bad things are about to happen to us. Having escaped that, Captain America could easily have given a penalty away on the hour. Neil Harris’ role of the dice giving a debut to free scoring Crawley forward Max Watters had fallen spectacularly flat leading to the introduction of youth team product Mark Harris and his first action was to shove Cameron out of the way on the edge of the area and head to the byline — progress interrupted by a fairly petulant return of fire from the QPR man. Harris stayed on his feet, had he gone down that could have been interesting.

There was a further challenge on Harris by Cameron tight to the near touchline that slid neatly into the Not Sensible category that Bond didn’t even award a free kick for. Geoff, like Ball on his team, and Ralls, Vaulks and Morrison in the home colours, seemed to have diplomatic immunity to do anything he wished. Others, Lyndon Dykes in particular, were not so fortunate. The maddening inconsistencies were often so flagrant they came within ten seconds of each other — observe Dykes being fairly obviously pulled to the ground while competing for a ball in the seventy eighth minute for no free kick, which is fine if you want to write that off as a 50/50 in a physical game, only for the ball to bounce loose over halfway and another Cardiff sub Robert Glatzel to win a free kick for far less contact in an identical match up with Yoann Barbet.

When a slick move on the edge of the area got Chair in behind Cardiff and Smithies saved one on one, the ball looped up invitingly for Charlie Austin at the back post and he duly stuck away the opening goal. This was disallowed. If it’s been disallowed for whatever interpretation of the handball rule we were playing to last night, it looks harsh. If it’s been disallowed, as Bond appeared to be indicating, because Austin’s foot was raised in converting it, then it’s good to know that in future all we need to do to have goals chalked off is chuck ourselves face first towards whichever boot is taking the shot on.

Without Dieng, QPR would have lost, Cardiff would have won, Harris would have kept his job. Rangers, as at Derby away pre-Christmas, undoubtedly caught a team at a perfect time, with a manager teetering on the brink and the players barely giving half a toss, and still came very close to not winning the game. But then if the R’s had been awarded the blatant first half penalty and converted, and the Austin goal had stood when it should have done, then Lyndon Dykes storming through the heart of the Cardiff defence and finishing with aplomb in the final minute of normal time would have made it 4-0. This, also, naturally, was pulled back for a pitifully weak free kick after Morrison, realising he was in deep trouble, chucked himself to the ground and pleaded to Bond for another highly dubious and generous out. Never a foul in a month of Sundays and the tinniest of tin hats to place firmly atop the shabbiest of shabby refereeing display we’ve seen this season. Morrison seemed pretty keen to referee the game himself most of the way through, and frankly Bond was stirring a cauldron of incompetence and cowardice so vigorously by this stage I’m not sure QPR would have come out any worse had we indeed just turned the whistle over to the Cardiff captain.

Cardiff: Smithies 5; Ng 6 (Glatzel 76, 5), Morrison 6, Nelson 6, Bennett 5; Bacuna 6, Vaulks 6 (Ojo 76, 6), Ralls 6; Wilson 4 (Murphy 85, -), Moore 6, Watters 5 (Harris 55, 6)

Subs not used: Phillips, Sang, Bagan, Hoilett, Patten

QPR: Dieng 8; Dickie 8, Cameron 6, Barbet 6; Kane 6, Ball 7, Chair 6, Willock 6 (Kakay 83, -),
Hämäläinen 5; Austin 6 (Bonne 70, 7), Dykes 6

Subs not used: Lumley, Thomas, Bettache, Kelman, Adomah, Duke-McKenna

Goals: Willock 71 (assisted Bonne)

Bookings: Barbet 36 (foul), Cameron 48 (foul), Chair 89 (time wasting)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 3 Morrison seemed quite keen to referee this one himself and, frankly, such was Darren Bond’s grip on proceedings/reality we probably wouldn’t have come out of it much worse off if we had just turned the whistle over to the Cardiff captain. Several key decisions in the game called incorrectly or missed entirely; certain players (Cameron, Morrison) allowed to do as they pleased while others (Dykes) were penalised for everything; inconsistencies so flagrant they often came within a few seconds of each other, such as the seventy eighth minute Dykes/Glatzel farce. QPR were incredibly unlucky to have two goals disallowed for nothing very much at all, and had a blatant penalty waved away in the first five minutes. They should almost certainly have been down to ten men, if not for Cameron’s first lunging horror for which he was only booked then for a succession of fouls by the same player thereafter. Vaulks’ and Ralls’ diplomatic immunity carried over from the game at Loftus Road — I think those two would actually have to shoot somebody to get a booking. Three, four, five fouls in a row given for pitifully little contact, then suddenly one waved away. Absolutely all over the show. As bad a refereeing performance as we’ve seen for some time.

Blackburn 2 QPR 1, Tuesday January 28, 2020, Championship

QPR: Kelly 6; Kane 6, Hall 6, Masterson 7, Wallace 6; Cameron 6, Amos 5 (Pugh, 66, 5); Eze 5, Chair 7, (Shodipo 80, 6), Osayi-Samuel 6; Hugill 6

Subs not used: Lumley, Manning, Rangel, Leistner, Clarke.

Goal: Hugill 22 (assist Chair)

Booked: Chair 57 (mugging), Cameron 58 (foul), Amos 61 (foul)

Blackburn: Walton 6, Nyambe 7, Lenihan 7, Adarabioyo 6, Bell 7; Travis 7, Downing 6 (Johnson 79, -), Holtby 6 (Rankin-Costello 79, -), Rothwell 6 (Bennett 46, 6); Armstrong 7, Gallagher 6

Subs not used: Leutwiler, Williams, Graham, Brereton.

Goals: Armstrong 10 (unassisted), Lenihan 30 (assisted Rothwell)

Booked: Lenihan 74 (foul)

Referee — Darren Bond 7 Even with my footy specs on it’s hard to definitively argue with any of Bond’s decisions without watching the game back, and I’m in no hurry to relive the experience just now. The cards for Amos and Chair were easy to give, in the case of Chair very easy, and he didn’t blow up every two minutes. Bright’s penalty shout was worth a look but he probably got it right so I’m not feeling bitter. However, he did seem easily influenced by the home crowd, and failing to punish Rovers for their shithousery, in particular Walton who took an age to do everything does rankle.

QPR 2 Birmingham 0, Wednesday December 11, 2019, Championship

If our Sky overlords were hoping for better in the second half, well it was a pleasure and an honour to disappoint them. QPR’s advantage meant they didn’t have to push forward looking for more, and Birmingham’s comatose approach to the game meant they didn’t really have it within them to chase it. And so the scrappiness began again — Leistner gave the ball away, Birmingham forced a corner, QPR cleared. Cameron tripped Josh McEachran on the edge of the box, substitute Jutkiewicz hit a piss weak free kick into the wall. Osayi-Samuel almost slipped Eze clean through on goal but Birmingham intercepted and countered drawing a yellow for a professional foul from Leistner which would force local starlet Jude Bellingham out of the game. Maxime Colin objected to the awarding of a routine throw in against him to such an extent that referee Darren Bond booked him for dissent — something accident investigators would find played a key role later on.

On and on it droned, meandering its way towards a 1-0 away win. The QPR fans found a large gent with glasses in the home end and started signing “you’re just a fat Harry Potter” at him. The Birmingham fans found a large gent with glasses in the away end and started singing “you’re just a fat Harry Potter” at him. Birmingham seemed to kick the ball out for a throw in an awful lot for a professional football team. A text from the family home pleadingly asked if I’d done the sensible thing and stayed in London to watch it on the television. I had not stayed at home to watch it on the television. You’re wasting your life Clive. Thanks mum, love you.

And then the ball arrived at the feet of a young man called Bright Osayi-Samuel. You see this sort of exhilarating incident in both codes of rugby, when play has become condensed in the midfield and the defending team’s winger has come too far in, offering a corridor of land between him and the touchline through which an opponent can burst if they’re quick and strong enough. Bright Osayi-Samuel was quick and strong enough. Switched onto the left side post Colin yellow card to try and extract a red from him, he had his man all ends up from the moment he got hold of the ball. Colin knew he couldn’t foul him, and didn’t want him one on one in that position. He didn’t want him one bit. Off they set, down the line, towards the away end, Osayi-Samuel combining superb ball control at speed with powerful right arm fends to keep his man at bay. If anything, he seemed to be getting faster as he powered out of the QPR half and down the touchline, aggressively driving at the heart of the home team defence, bringing the travelling fans to their feet in anticipation, forcing his way towards the penalty area. Come across and help out any time you like lads, but nobody did, and Colin was spent. By the time he breached the 18-yard box Osayi-Samuel was just a blur, absolutely motoring along and now with Nahki Wells up alongside him awaiting a tap in. Lack of end product? Not me, never doubted him. He drew a foot back and shelled it straight into the roof of the net. In under the posts. Blood of Jesus. The away end took off. Print it out for Joan. Count that scrappy first one as half and we’ll have two for this one — Birmingham 0 QPR 2.5.

Birmingham: Trueman 6; Colin 5, Dean 6, Harding 6, Pedersen 5; McEachran 5, Sunjic 5; Maghoma 6, Bellingham 6 (Montero 64, 5), Bela 6 (Bailey 54, 5); Gimenez 5 (Jutkiewicz 53, 4)

Subs not used: Camp, Gardner, Davis, Bajrami

Bookings: Colin 51 (dissent), Maghoma 77 (foul)

QPR: Lumley 6; Kane 6, Hall 8, Leistner 6, Manning 7; Cameron 7, Amos 7 (Smith 90+2, -); Osayi-Samuel 7, Pugh 6 (Ball 71, 6), Eze 7; Wells 5 (Hugill 70, 5)

Subs not used: Wallace, Mlakar, Chair, Barnes

Goals: Hall 45+1 (assisted Eze), Osayi-Samuel 68 (unassisted)

Bookings: Leistner 61 (foul), Eze 90+1 (unsporting)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 7 As calm and unfussy as I think I’ve ever seen him, though Maxime Colin probably doesn’t think so because his yellow card for dissent looked harsh given what had been allowed to go before and played a key part in him not bringing down Bright Osayi-Samuel for the second goal. Quite why players are allowed to scream “fuck off” at referees and that’s fine, but bouncing the ball on the ground in frustration at a decision is a big no no I’ve never understood.

Stoke 1 QPR 2, Saturday August 3, 2019, Championship

Stoke got their first attempt on goal with a helping hand from replacement referee Darren Bond, who awarded a dubious foul allowing Sam Clucas to flick Nick Powell's freekick just wide of Lumley's goal. With the lead, Rangers continued to dictate their opposition playing a slow passing game and happy to keep the ball and wait for openings.

But most of all there seems to be a clear plan, instructions and style of play that the players are able to follow. The plan for any in attendance was clear for Rangers, isolate Osayi-Samuel against McClean. Early in the first-half, he evaded another tackle from the Stoke man and cut inside this time, running straight at the statue-like Stoke defence. Hugill took Danny Batth away with his run and then was bundled over in the box only for the referee to continue his questionable afternoon by giving a foul against the new number nine.

Despite all the plaudits, memes and replays of the goal it would all have been pointless with seconds left to play. Stoke hitting another diagonal ball into the box, Lumley, who must have been told to be more proactive with his goalkeeping by coming for nearly everything led to him steaming out of his goal attempting to claim the ball, only for him not to put his hands up and said ball hurtle over his leap for it to be headed wide of the empty net. Our luck in this time, and again when Pugh got away with what looked like a fairly blatant handball in his own area at the death.

Stoke: Butland 5; Smith 5, Batth 5, Collins 4, McClean 4: Cousins 5, Allen 5, Clucas 5, Powell 5 (Gregory 5, 68); Afobe 4 (Ince 6, 71), Vokes 5 (Campbell 5, 81)

Subs not used: Federeci, Edwards, Martins Indi, Woods

Goals: Clucas 81 (assisted Ince)

Bookings: McClean (foul)

QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 6, Barbet 7, Hall 7, Manning 7: Cameron 7, Amos 7 (Pugh 68, 5): Osayi-Samuel 8 (Shodipo 72, 6), Scowen 6, Eze 8; Hugill 7 (Leistner 81, 6)

Subs not used: Kelly, Smith, Mlakar, Chair

Goals: Hugill 8 (assisted Osayi-Samuel), Eze 53 (assisted Cameron)

Bookings: Cameron (foul) 16, Scowen (foul) 22, Barbet (foul) 24

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 4: A change from advertised official Geoff Eltringham. Started handing out cards to Rangers players for every foul they made but despite numerous fouls on the away side he was far more lenient. Whilst it could be argued Rangers deserved their bookings, 18 fouls made by Stoke, four more than QPR yet only one booking seems odd at best.

QPR 3 Birmingham 4, Saturday February 9, 2019, Championship

Referee Darren Bond everybody. *Applause*. Championship ref-bot 2.3 had already long decided he was going to give Matt Smith nothing all day, declaring open season on the striker. When he was booted up in the air over by the far touchline nothing was given. When Furlong then suffered a lesser foul immediately at the hands of Maghoma the Birmingham man was booked but when he then came across to the other side of the pitch and deliberately tripped Luke Freeman with a far more blatant offence in a far more dangerous position Bond decided to leave him on the field. Just because. Leistner tried an ambitious long ranger, Camp fumbled it in the bottom corner, Smith seized on the rebound, Morrison pushed him over. No penalty. Just because. I swear we’ll have been taken over and ruled for a thousand years by new ant overlords before Matt Smith is awarded a penalty. Make sure that free kick in a neutral part of the pitch is in the right place though you little scamp. Take it back. Back over there. Take it back. Back over there. Take it back. Back over there. Take it again. Back over there. Take it back. Back over there. Take it again. Back over there. Insufferable jobsworth. There’s one in every village.

No matter. A sense of injustice only built the atmosphere further. Hall headed the resulting Freeman free kick over. Smith had a searing, deflected volley from the edge of the box (do not adjust your set) spectacularly saved under the cross bar by Camp. Smith flicked a right wing cross into the path of Wells who missed an absolute sitter. Camp got away with an unorthodox fumble and parry from another Smith downward header from a cross from the left. Smith was absolutely everywhere, shrugging off the scandalous lack of protection from the referee, facing up to the physical onslaught from Dean and Morrison, picking himself up from a head injury and playing on one leg by the end with the sniff of a hat trick and a ninth career goal for a third different club against the side his dad once briefly turned out for. A back post header was saved by Camp again, a goalkeeper who thought his career was over 18 months ago now having a full Danny Coyne down at the Loft End. Gripping stuff.
Smith nearly made it 4-4 off the bloody kick off, a diving header glanced wide of the post. If it had gone in we’d still be there now. There or the Crown. Splashing around naked in a vat of euphoria and Peroni. There’s another lifeboat for the daddies on the other side sweetheart. Don't call the police I'll call them myself. Birmingham, losing their own minds in the pandemonium, were still throwing strikers on and going for more goals. None of the Preston, Norwich, Sheffield United clock running aresholery here boys, have a big thick slice of Isaac Vassell for your Che Adams and see how you cope with that. Not well as it turns out, Jota through to another attacking substitute Kerim Mrabti to force a good one on one save from Lumley. When they got a late corner they passed up the time wasting opportunity and slung it in there anyway. Absolute lads. There was enough electricity in the place to power the national grid for a month. What is going on? What is happening here?

What is happening here is five minutes of added time. And Joe Lumley going up for corners. And everybody on their feet. And can you actually believe what we’re witnessing? And will the grandkids ever believe us when we tell them? And is there anywhere you'd rather be than Loftus Road when it's like this? And a penalty kick. A penalty kick. Luke Freeman cleared out by the third substitute Craig Gardner amidst more goal mouth chaos. A penalty kick. Darnell Furlong couldn't bring himself to watch. I think I'm going to throw up. Aramide Oteh scored QPR’s last, but he wasn’t here. Tomer Hemed scored the one before that, but remained an unused sub because of the earlier emergency surgery. Talk about Luke Freeman and Matt Smith, on a hat trick, in hindsight if you must, but you’d want Nahki Wells on duty for such a situation wouldn’t you?

Apparently not. The dreaded stuttered run up. A kick easier to read than the Daily Star’s crossword. A mass incursion into the box by desperate Brummie defenders ignored by the refbot. A narrative-seizing dive to the right by Lee Camp. And a save. An easy save. A miss.

QPR 1st Half: Lumley 3; Furlong 4, Hall 3, Lynch 2, Bidwell 4; Osayi-Samuel 6, Scowen 3, Luongo 5, Freeman 5; Smith 6, Wells 5

QPR 2nd half: Lumley 6; Leistner 7, Hall 5, Lynch 5 (Wszolek 61, 7); Furlong 6, Bidwell 6; Cousins 7, Freeman 8, Luongo 7; Wells 5, Smith 9

QPR Overall: Lumley 4; Furlong 5, Hall 4, Lynch 3 (Wszolek 61, 7), Bidwell 5; Osayi-Samuel 6 (Cousins 46, 7), Scowen 3 (Leistner 46, 7), Luongo 6, Freeman 7; Wells 5, Smith 8

Subs not used: Ingram, Eze, Manning, Hemed

Goals: Smith 41 (assisted Freeman), 48 (assisted Wells), Cousins 80 (assisted Freeman)

Bookings: Lynch 53 (foul)

Birmingham 1st half: Camp 6; Harding 7, Morrison 7, Dean 7, Colin 7; Gardner 7, Kieftenbeld 8, Maghoma 8, Jota 10; Jutkiewicz 8, Adams 10

Birmingham 2nd half: Camp 9; Harding 6, Morrison 5, Dean 5, Colin 6; G Gardner 7, Kieftenbeld 7, Maghoma 6 (C Gardner 74, 6), Jota 6; Jutkiewicz 6 (Mrabti 68, 5), Adams 7 (Vassell 82, -)

Birmingham overall: Camp 8; Harding 6, Morrison 6, Dean 6, Colin 6; G Gardner 7, Kieftenbeld 8, Maghoma 7 (C Gardner 74, 6), Jota 8; Jutkiewicz 7 (Mrabti 68, 5), Adams 9 (Vassell 82, -)

Subs not used: Pedersen, Mahoney, Davis, Trueman

Goals: Adams 21 (unassisted), 26 (assisted Jota), 42 (assisted Jota), Dean 36 (assisted Jota)

Bookings: Maghoma 58 (foul)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 3 Complete shithouse. Decided very early on he was giving Matt Smith nothing at all, which got a bit ridiculous by the end when he was being kicked up in the air at every opportunity and bundled over for a penalty more obvious than the one he did eventually award. Booked Jacques Maghoma for one tackle, then when the same player committed a worse foul in a more dangerous area of the pitch on a player streaking clear into an attacking position minutes later didn’t show a second yellow for no other reason than he didn’t very much fancy sending him off. Having turned a blind eye to those big incidents he then decided to get ridiculously over-officious and jobsworthy over the placing of several free kicks and throw ins deep, deep into neutral territory when the game could just have been allowed to flow. Then when he finally strapped on a pair and awarded the injury time penalty (which was less of a foul than the one on Smith earlier) he allowed the save to stand despite mass encroachment from the Birmingham players, including one who’s basically level with Wells as he strikes the ball. A complete fucking pain in the arse all afternoon. A total waste of flesh and breath.

QPR 0 Norwich City 1, Saturday September 22, 2018, Championship

If you thought Norwich were clock running before, well then the remaining time in this game really wasn’t for you. It seems to be just generally accepted in the Championship this season that once a team is leading in the final third of the game they are allowed to take absolute liberties with what time remains. We’ve had it done to us by Sheffield United, Preston and Norwich now, while we’ve done it ourselves to Wigan, Bolton and Millwall. It is appalling to watch, reducing sporting fixtures people have forked over serious amounts of their hard earned cash to see into drawn out, boring farces. Players who are substituted deliberately going to the far side of the field and then walking off like a veteran member of the Cleethorpes and District Arthritis Care Association. Goalkeepers allowed to fuck about with the ball - cleaning it, placing it, replacing it, taking it to the other side of the six yard box, having a couple of false start run ups — for days and days at a time at every single goal kick. Play disrupted with one deliberate free kick after another, and every free kick immediately followed by the same niggly stuff where the ball gets poked away, and players refuse to retreat, and we have a big mother’s union with the referee about whether it was actually a free kick or not a free kick and whether it’s been placed in quite the correct position or not. Play repeatedly stopped to tend to one prostrate player after another when it is blatantly obvious to everybody in the ground that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. And two physios now for every team - since when did that become necessary? One to make sure they are indeed pretending to be hurt and one to check for any signs of intelligent life? Then the whole palaver where said cheating footballer limps off to the side of the pitch the long way before immediately sprinting back on fit as a fiddle as soon as the game restarts.

And all the while all any of the referees at this level do is repeatedly point at their watch, book absolutely nobody, and then add four minutes at the end of the game regardless of anything that’s gone before. One or two minutes in the first half, four minutes in the second, thanks very much I’m off home now. What’s the point in them having a fucking watch at all really? I already know how much stoppage time there’s going to be at Swansea next week and the game’s six days away.

Now let’s be clear here. This is not the embittered, sour grapes ranting of the beaten football fan, though I appreciate it may come across as that in this context. As I say, we were doing exactly this to Bolton and Millwall earlier in the week. Joe Lumley is bloody awful for it. And let’s not forget that after Preston and Sheff Utd dark arted us to death in the opening week of the season, I said that QPR needed to learn from them and get some street smarts of their own, which in the last few games it seems we have. We were wasting time at 0-0 at Birmingham a fortnight ago.

This is a general point about how referees in the Championship are complicit in, and in the case of Darren Bond on Saturday actively encouraging through total indifference and inaction, this descent of second tier football in this country to the very worst tropes of the leagues in Spain, Italy and particularly Portugal — where the aim of the game is to make sure you’re not losing after an hour, and then piss the final 30 minutes up the wall in front of 12,000 people who’d paid north of £30 to get in. This will fester if there isn't a serious clampdown and make what is already a basic, attritional, mediocre and borderline unwatchable league less palatable still. There have been episodes of Celebrity Big Brother that had more about them than this latest dirge. Loftus Road, like many Championship grounds, littered with empty seats, and I doubt those that did bother will be keen to rush back for more.

QPR: Lumley 6; Baptiste 5 (Cousins 77, 5), Leistner 6 (Smith 87, -), Lynch 6, Bidwell 5; Eze 5, Luongo 5, Scowen 5 (Osayi-Samuel 77, 6), Freeman 6; Hemed 5, Wells 6

Subs not used: Ingram, Cameron, Wszolek, Kakay

Norwich: Krul 6; Aarons 6, Zimmerman 6, Klose 6, Lewis 7; Leitner 6 (Trybull 90, -), Tettey 8; Buendia 6 (Vrancic 68, 6), Stiepermann 7, Cartwell 7; Pukki 7 (Rhodes 90+2, -)

Subs not used: Godfrey, Srbeny, McGovern, Thompson

Goals: Pukki 71 (assisted Stiepermann)

Yellows: Aarons 61 (foul), Lewis 67 (foul)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 5 Missed a fairly blatant QPR penalty at the end of the game when Luongo was shoved to the ground as he was about to shoot. Was complicit in, and actively encouraged, the time wasting that went on in the second half.

QPR 2 Nottingham Forest 5, Saturday February 24, 2018, Championship

There was a brief rally from the home team. Smith headed a good cross from Wszolek wide when he should have scored, and then did likewise with another header that referee Bond generously decided had been deflected. From that corner, Massimo Luongo bundled in from close range to make it 3-1. Had Eze then scored when he should have done after Pantilimon fumbled a corner straight to him there might have been a game on, and the keeper once again started his time wasting antics as a result — finally booked by Bond with 20 minutes left.

QPR: Smithies 5; Onuoha 4, Robinson 4, Lynch 4 (Eze 53, 5); Wszolek 4, Bidwell 4 (Washington 70, 4); Scowen 3, Luongo 3, Freeman 5; Smith 5, Smyth 5

Subs not used: Ingram, Furlong, Manning, Perch, Osayi-Samuel

Goals: Luongo 68 (assisted Smith), Smith 78 (assisted Freeman)

Bookings: Scowen 84 (foul)

Forest: Pantilimon 6; Darikwa 7, Figueiredo 7, Fox 7, Osborn 8; Watson 8, Colback 7 (Guédioura 90, -); Cash 8, Tomlin 9 (Dowell 69, 8), Lolley 8 (Worrall 85, -); Brereton 8

Subs not used: Mancienne, Bridcutt, Kapino, Vellios,

Goals: Tomlin 37 (assisted Lolley), 47 (unassisted), Lolley 51 (assisted Tomlin), Cash 76, Brereton 90+1 (assisted Cash)

Bookings: Tomlin 35 (foul), Pantilimon 72 (time wasting)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 6 Not too bad overall but — and this is a regular complaint — why do experienced, otherwise very good, referees struggle so much to clamp down on time wasting? Pantilimon was trying it on at 0-0 after 15 minutes and really took the piss through the second half. Quite why he felt the need to do that with Forest in such dominant control I’m not sure but Bond let him get away with it for far too long, and then when he did book him he let him carry on doing it afterwards. Even immediately after the yellow card was issued Pantilimon continued the conversation for ages, then wandered back and started messing about with his socks. Book him again, send him off. But nobody does, so they keep doing it.

Middlesbrough 3 QPR 2, Saturday September 16, 2017, Championship

QPR have been good this season. They pose an attacking threat, pass the ball nicely, play through opponents effectively and are good to watch. But even when their first choice defence was playing, they’ve proven vulnerable during those ten minute pleasure windows every team has in a game. Sheff Wed, Norwich, Millwall and now Middlesbrough have stuck five goals through Rangers in the 15 minutes immediately after half time when, ideally, you want to be soaking up anything new the opposition manager has to offer, quietening the crowd back down, working your position back into the game and then setting about playing through the final half hour. An Alex Smithies yellow card for timewasting as early as the fifty second minute betrayed the team’s nervousness with the situation, despite their accomplished performance to that point.

Game retrieved, Boro rather went back into their shells after that — though Assombalonga skied a wonderful chance to make it 4-2 high over the bar and off towards the docks on 72 minutes and Smithies spectacularly tipped over from the impressive Baker. Jamie Mackie’s scrap with Cyrus Christie, for which both players were yellow carded by excellent referee Darren Bond, showed Rangers weren’t done yet and Holloway sent on Idrissa Sylla to add more presence and threat to the attack.

Boro: Randolph 5; Christie 6, Fry 6, Gibson 6, Fabio 5; Leadbitter 6 (Howson 56, 6), Clayton 6 (Fletcher 46, 7); Baker 8, Downing 6 (Forshaw 78, 6), Johnson 8; Assombalonga 7

Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Friend, Shotton, Bamford

Goals: Baker 36 (assisted Johnson), Fletcher 55 (assisted Christie), Assombalonga 60 (assisted Johnson)

Yellows: Clayton 34 (foul), Leadbitter 39 (foul), Christie 66 (unsporting), Baker 66 (foul)

QPR: Smithies 7; Furlong 6, Baptiste 6, Robinson 6, Bidwell 6; Luongo 8, Freeman 7, Manning 7; Lua Lua 6 (Wszolek 45, 6), Smith 6 (Mackie 45, 6), Wheeler 6 (Sylla 68, 6)

Subs not used: Borysiuk, Ngbakoto, Lumley, Osayi-Samuel

Goals: Wheeler 2 (assisted Freeman), Mackie 50 (unassisted)

Yellows: Luongo 32 (foul), Wszolek 47 (foul), Smithies 52 (timewasting), Mackie 66 (unsporting)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 8 A lot of cards (eight) in a game that didn’t really feel like one of those but overall I thought he was excellent, in keeping with the unusually high standard of officiating we’ve had from the Championship officials in our games so far this season. Really contributed to the flow of an enjoyable game.

Barnsley 3 QPR 2, Wednesday August 17, 2016, Championsip

Our only moment of excitement in the first half came from a Chery free kick. From about 20 yards he curled a lovely effort which clipped the top of the bar and went out for a goal kick. That was it for us and it was with some relief the half ended with only a one goal deficit and we could hope for an improvement in the second half.

We didn’t have to wait long. A lovely ball around the centre half by Chery and Polter was away and heading towards goal. Through a mixture of shirt pulling and tripping Polter was thwarted and the referee pointed to the spot. Chery easily converted and the away end finally awoke from their sleepy state and our spirits were rightly raised.

But before any changes could be made Rangers found themselves in front. Some neat passing and a dangerous cross from the right came to N’Gbakato who drew a foolish challenge and the referee once again pointed correctly to the spot. There were concerned looks around us as Chery threw the ball to Polter to take the penalty. Why? Chery had already nailed three pens this season surely he should be taking this one too? Oh no, Polter’s bound to miss. Bang! 2- 1 to the R’s and “We’re top of the league!” boomed out of the away end.

Only fifteen minutes to go and leading through our only two efforts on target, let’s show that strength and steel that was in evidence on Sunday and put this game to bed. Or let’s give away a ridiculous free kick in dangerous position when an attacker is moving away from goal. It may have been soft but why give the opponent a reason to fall flat on his face and the referee a decision to make? We’ve just taken the lead and Barnsley have struggled to break us down in the second half. Utter stupidity and naivety to make any kind of challenge there and you know the rest. From an almost identical position as Chery’s free kick in the first half, Hourihane belts an absolute beauty passed the helpless Smithies and the momentum swung back to the home side.

Hasselbaink tried to freshen things up by replacing the tired N’Gbakoto with El Khayati, who I don’t think touched the ball in the ten minutes he was on for. We had tossed the lead away but a point was still a good result and we move on to Saturday still unbeaten. Yeah right. Last minute winner for Barnsley.

From our angle it looked like Hall had been fouled in the lead up to the goal but the officials were unmoved and Oakwell was predominantly jubilant. Washington replaced the ineffective and knackered Cousins and Hall was rightly shown a second yellow followed by the red for deliberately stopping a late Barnsley break on the halfway line. That really was the icing on the cake for a disappointing last 15 minutes and the game drifted to defeat.

Hasselbaink is moaning about the officials but he needs to look more closely at his game management. Cousins needed replacing far earlier and we seemed content to let the game drift for long periods rather than trying something different. We certainly didn’t play well enough to deserve the win and we need to get more people forward more quickly. Too often our midfield slowed the game down and passed backwards. Henry was particularly guilty of this and kept putting us under pressure with misplaced passes, terrible crosses or fouls. I also hope the real Smithies returns on Saturday as I didn’t enjoy his Rob Green impersonation at all.

Barnsley: Davies NA; Bree 6; Roberts 6, Mawson 7, White 7; Kent 8; Scowen 7; Hourihane 8; Hammil 5; Watkins 6 (D’Almeida 82, -); Bradshaw 5 (Payne 63, 6)
Subs not used: Macdonald, Moncur, Lee, Townsend, Yiadom

Goals: Watkins 4 (assisted Hourihane/Roberts), Hourihane 77 (free kick won Hourihane, conceded Luongo), Scowen 89 (assisted Payne, mistake Hall)

Bookings: Roberts 46 (foul)

QPR: Smithies 4; Onuoha 7, Caulker 6, Hall 4, Bidwell 6; N’Gbakoto 6 (El Khayati 83, -), Henry 4, Luongo 5, Cousins 5 (Washington 91, -); Chery 7 ; Polter 7
Subs not used: Ingram, Perch, Petrasso, Shodipo, Kakay

Goals: Chery 47 (penalty, won Polter), Polter 75 (penalty, won N’Gbakoto)

Red Cards: Hall 90+5 (two bookings)

Bookings: Onuoha 90+3 (foul), Hall 61 (foul), 90+5 (foul)

Referee — Darren Bond (Lancashire) 7 He has taken a bit of flak from JFH (and the fans around me) about the soft free kick and not awarding a foul in the run up to their winner, but I quite liked the way he ran the game. I’m not sure what game JFH was watching but Barnsley were not a dirty team. The ref let the game flow, he was not fussy, played the advantage well and when he had to make the big calls (the two pens) he made them. How many time does the away team get two pens? His bookings and sending off were spot on. The free kick may have been soft for their equaliser but the fault lies with the challenge. It looked a foul in the run-up to the winner but the assistant was closer and didn’t flag and it’s not clear on the tv highlights anyway. So I’m happy to not criticise here.


Bond has shown 93 yellows and three reds in 21 games this season, four of which have been in the Premier League. Totals substantially boosted by ten yellows at the Blackpool Forest FA Cup saga, and eight yellows in Southampton’s recent 3-0 home win against Watford – nearly 20% of his cards in two games.

He was far busier last season with 37 appointments, 155 yellow cards and four reds. Bond was missing for almost all of the first half of the previous season — no appointments at all between Sheff Wed 0-0 Huddersfield in the League Cup at the start of August and January. He did 17 games through the second half of the campaign, including Wycombe’s 2-0 win against MK Dons in the League One play-off semi-final in May. He finished with 64 yellows and two reds for the season.

His overall QPR record is 4-1-8 from 12 games, Leeds are 8-2-3 from 13. He hasn’t refereed them since the 2019/20 season when he had four Leeds appointments – a 1-0 home defeat to Swansea, 1-0 win at Reading, 1-1 home draw with Preston and 5-0 home win against Stoke.

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tomashlala added 16:13 - May 13
good post!

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