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Young referee makes an unwelcome QPR comeback at Portsmouth
Young referee makes an unwelcome QPR comeback at Portsmouth
Monday, 8th Nov 2010 19:12 by Clive Whittingham

Gavin Ward, the baby faced referee who systematically persecuted QPR at Reading last season returns to Rangers action for the first time since that game on Tuesday night at Portsmouth.

Referee>> Gavin Ward (Surrey), fourth season on the league list, second QPR match, yet to send a player off this season.

Assistants >>> Harry Lennard (East Sussex) and Mark Pottage (Dorset)

Fourth Official >>> Warren Atkin (Sussex)


Reading 1 QPR 0, Tuesday March 16, 2010

Referee Gavin Ward was at the centre of attention on Tuesday night as QPR, reduced to ten men in the first half, suffered their first defeat under Neil Warnock thanks to a late Reading penalty.

One of my favourite Whittingham-isms is the use of the phrase lobotomised gibbon to describe Sheffield United’s knuckle-dragging simian Chris Morgan (see last weekend's Sheffield United match report). Unfortunately for QPR, higher primates missing their frontal lobes do not just play football they can also referee as well.

The primate in question, Mr Gavin Ward, oversaw his first QPR match last night, and I hope it is his last. He was inconsistent throughout the night, bought dives, missed handballs, threw yellow cards around like chicken feed, and couldn’t tell the difference between a corner and a goal kick. His decision to send Damion Stewart off in the forty fourth minute of the first half ruined what was becoming a tight and interesting encounter between two teams of a similar league standing and skill level.

Then, on thirty one minutes, the silliness began. Mr Ward, who had not thirty seconds earlier given Shane Long a ticking-off for his tackle on Faurlin, booked Damion Stewart for raising a boot in a challenge with Long. It was a 50/50 ball, one player went with the head, one with the foot, and the result should have been a whistle and a quiet word, based on the free-kick which had gone before. Unfortunately, that yellow card was the opening of Pandora’s Box. Like a flasher in a rain mac with no zip, his card came out again and again and again. Faurlin was next in the book for an unfair challenge, which again did not warrant a yellow, and on 44 minutes, Stewart went in the book for the second and final time of the evening.

From where we were sitting, it seemed as if the goalkeeper simply ran into Stewart whilst clearing the ball. The linesman, and surprisingly Neil Warnock in his post-match interview, had different ideas. The linesman flapped, the ref glanced to look, and without any dialogue with his assistant (although perhaps they spoke via radio) the decision was made. Stewart, who had a good first half, except for hooking a simple clearance out for a corner, is either an idiot or on the receiving end of a referee whose decision making was as poor as poor can be – one would have to look at the video replay.

The second half became scrappier as the minutes wore on and the wonderful Gavin Ward reacted by booking yet another QPR player. This time it was Leigertwood for an unfair challenge on Rasiak, although possibly for Leggs’ reaction to the free-kick rather than the challenge itself. Seconds earlier, Ephraim was elbowed in the head and Faurlin had been fouled having won the ball twice in midfield from two separate Reading players - neither incident warranted a free-kick from Mr Ward.

Then came the penalty. Simple. Reading corner, QPR clearance, Reading player back into the box, chopped down by Hill. Hill received a card, and while you’re at it may as well flash one to Connolly for dissent. Penalty awarded. Goal. Sigurdson's spot kick was well placed in the top corner, well out of the reach of Ikeme who did dive the right way.

In a different time, one in which competent men referee football matches, this would have been one point for the R’s with a goal apiece. Neither side would have deserved much more on the first-half display. And who knows, had we kept 11 men, Reading may have fallen to pieces as they threatened to do at points in the second half.

Reading: Federici, Griffin, Mills, Ingimarsson, Bertrand, Kebe,Tabb, Sigurdsson, Howard (Rasiak 61), McAnuff, Long (Church 67)

Subs Not Used: Hamer, Gunnarsson, Matejovsky, Robson-Kanu, Khizanishvili

Booked: Rasiak (diving)

Goals: Sigurdsson 85 (penalty)

QPR: Ikeme 7, Connolly 7, Stewart 6, Gorkss 8, Hill 7, Faurlin 7, Leigertwood 6, Priskin 6 (German 87), Taarabt 7 (Ramage 80, -), Ephraim 6 (Cook 90, -), Simpson 7

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Cook, Vine, Buzsaky, Borrowdale

Booked: Faurlin (foul), Leigertwood (repetitive fouling), Hill (foul), Connolly (dissent)

Sent Off: Stewart (two bookings – foul, obstructing goalkeeper)

Referee - Gavin Ward (Staffordshire) 1 And that is for being able to tie his shoelaces. The guy was awful. Truly awful. This may sound like the rant of the defeated, but he bought everything from both sides, except in the second-half when QPR couldn’t win a free-kick for love nor money, missed countless handballs from both sides, gave throw-ins the wrong way, gave corners instead of goal kicks, goal kicks instead of corners, and finally, threw yellow cards around like confetti, unfortunately only to one side. On his basis of awarding yellow cards, plenty of challenges on either side should have been bookings.


Ward is averaging just over two bookings a game this season, 23 yellows in 11 matches, and is yet to send a player off. His biggest haul in a single game was four, when Norwich beat Barnsley 2-1 in the Championship in September. Last season he showed 110 yellows in 31 games (3.55 a game) and five reds. He booked seven in the Brighton v Charlton match, nine in a clash between Southend and Gillingham and handed out seven yellows and a red when Ipswich met Nottingham Forest.

Other listings

Championship >>> Notoriously home orientated Premiership referee Kevin Friend is in charge of Leeds v Hull. Andy D’Urso has Reading v Cardiff on Wednesday night. Trevor Kettle has Preston v Hull on Friday night.

Saturday >>> Our old foe Andy D’Urso is in charge at Nottingham Forest

Picture courtesy of refworld.

Photo: Action Images

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