Harrington gets final game of the season - Referee
Thursday, 6th May 2021 16:41 by Clive Whittingham
Tony Harrington, who awarded Bristol City a nonsense injury time penalty to beat QPR two seasons ago, gets our final game of 2020/21 at home to Luton on Saturday lunchtime.
Referee >>> Tony Harrington (Cleveland)
Assistants >>> Mark Pottage (Dorset) and Shaun Hudson (Tyne and Wear)
Fourth Official >>> Dean Whitestone (Northants)
As we know, from our Friday afternoon Warbs Bingo sessions, when we get the ball down and play, when we’re on the front foot and pressing, when the wing backs are able to go forwards, when we win first contacts and second balls, we’re a good team. We looked a good team here. Absolutely bang at it. Austin would have been in with more support than Fulham take away were it not for a very generous decision to let Bristol City off with a free kick from referee Tony Harrington, who you may remember from such Bristol City QPR fuck ups as the disgraceful injury time penalty that lost us this game when we were resident on Steve McClaren’s Hair Island.
Diedhiou’s stray arm into Dickie’s face also brought a yellow – referees look for a clenched fist as a sign of intent to elbow on those things, so his splayed palm probably saved him. Only poor finishing from first Chair on the end of more excellent Willock approach work, and then Bonne after Albert Adomah got the key pass in the final third right once again, prevented a breakaway third as time drained away. Rangers would have richly deserved it, Dom Ball’s 25 yard howitzer was an inch away from providing it, and if that had gone in no lockdown would have been strong enough to hold us. Hookers, blow, shots of AstraZeneca, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.
Bristol City: Bentley 6; Hunt 5, Mariappa 6, Kalas 6, Sessegnon 6; Vyner 5 (Pearson 37, 6); Palmer 5, Bakinson 4 (Semenyo 23, 5), Nagy 5 (Lansbury 31, 5), Wells 5; Diedhiou 5
Subs not used: O’Leary, Bell, Towler, Moore, Conway, Massengo
Bookings: Lansbury 84 (foul), Diedhiou 88 (foul)
QPR: Dieng 6; Dickie 7, De Wijs 7 (Kakay 63, 6), Barbet 7; Kane 7, Johansen 8, Field 8 (Ball 75, 6), Chair 7 (Thomas 82, -), Wallace 7; Willock 8 (Adomah 82, -), Austin 7 (Bonne 75, 6)
Subs not used: Lumley, Dykes, Hämäläinen, Bettache
Goals: Chair 11 (assisted Kane), Dickie 22 (unassisted)
Bookings: Kakay 71 (foul), Dickie 74 (foul), Ball 76 (foul)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 6 I thought there were a couple of highly dubious, extremely generous free kicks awarded in the first half when City players had simply been caught up in QPR’s high press and were in on goal but for braver refereeing. How Lansbury isn’t sent off late on is beyond me – even if the Johansen tackle isn’t a straight red, and it’s borderline, how on earth do you let him off with a warning for the deliberate take out of Chair just a moment before that?
It would appear that Rovers had come to push, shove, bite, scream, shout, swear and bully QPR off the pitch. Maybe they'd heard about all our nice quiet boys. But actually, with Austin and Johansen in the team, and the back three bedding in wonderfully well, not so much any more. When Lewis Travis went careering into Charlie Austin for no particular reason and the QPR striker responded with a shove to the chest, Travis theatrically collapsed to the ground clutching his face. Fucking wanker. It’s like that is it? Jesus Christ. Yellow card for Chaz. Travis should be made to watch it on a loop while rugby league players gather round to point and laugh. And get a pair of shorts that fit, who you trying to impress with those?
QPR: Dieng 8; Dickie 7, Cameron 7, Barbet 8; Kane 6, Johansen 5 (Bettache 74, 7), Ball 6, Chair 6, Wallace 7; Dykes 5 (Adomah 83, -), Austin 5 (Bonne 74, 6)
Subs not used: Lumley, Thomas, Willock, Kakay, Hämäläinen, Kelman
Goals: Barbet 54 (unassisted)
Bookings: Austin 5 (unsporting), Ball 20 (foul), Adomah 90+2 (foul)
Blackburn: Kaminski 6; Nyambe 7 (Harwood-Bellis 62, 6), Lenihan 6, Branthwaite 6, Bell 6; Rothwell 6 (Dack 62, 6), Travis 6, Davenport 6 (Holtby 62, 6 (Brereton 82, -)); Gallagher 5 (Dolan 74, 6), Elliott 6, Armstrong 7
Subs not used: Downing, Pears, Buckley, Bennett
Bookings: Davenport 9 (foul), Gallagher 60 (foul)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 6 Did well not to be conned by Travis’ ridiculous theatrics and attempt to cheat a red card for Charlie Austin early on, thought I think both players should have been yellow carded. Other cards correct, but I thought he was very generous in awarding Blackburn a free kick when Dykes caught them pissing around on the edge of their own box late on. The half time thing was odd, though I’ve seen it suggested he may have actually blown for a foul against Charlie Austin.
A farcical passage of play where Ilias Chair and referee Tony Harrington had a needlessly drawn out argument over the exact placing of a pretty neutral free kick, only for Chair to then pass it straight to the end of Reading’s two man wall, rather summed it up. Rangers really must stop making shit free kicks the microcosm of their afternoon’s endeavour.
When it’s not your day, it’s not your day, and with a minute left for play Macauley Bonne’s appeals that the ball had gone out for a throw in on the South Africa Road side of the ground fell on deaf ears allowing Olise similar amounts of time and space from 25 yards out. His shot beat Seny Dieng every bit as comprehensively as Chair’s had Cabral, but it beat the post as well, to win the match for the visitors amidst deathly silence at Loftus Road. Reading flagrantly pissed the five minutes of stoppage time away with timewasting unchecked by referee Harrington, but QPR were gone regardless. Could have played all night at that point.
QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 5 (Kane 72, 6), Dickie 7, Barbet 6, Hämäläinen 5; Cameron 5, Carroll 7; Willock 6 (Adomah 57, 5), Chair 7, Osayi-Samuel 6 (Bonne 79, 5); Dykes 5
Subs not used: Ball, Bettache, Masterson, Thomas, Kelman, Kelly
Bookings: Carroll 67 (foul)
Reading: Cabral 6; Esteves 7 (Holmes 65, 6), Morrison 6, Moore 8, Richards 6 (Gibson 27, 7); Rinomhota 6; Aluko 5 (Olise 65, 8), Lauren 7, Ejaria 7, Semedo 6; Baldock 5 (McIntyre 87, -)
Subs not used: Southwood, Melvin-Lambert, Watson, East, Onen
Goals: Olise 89 (unassisted)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 6 Couple of dodgy calls over minor free kicks. In general a difficult referee to like with his ongoing fussiness and pickiness about the placement of everything, which immediately lapses into a carefree, do-nothing attitude when it comes to time wasting late in the game, but this wasn’t a particularly hard game to get through and he did it without and serious major incident.
Let me do this, first of all, by running you through all the chances we created and didn’t score. Hull goalkeeper George Long scuffed a first minute clearance straight at Nahki Wells in a manner that brought back memories of Kelvin Davis teeing up Paul Furlong at Portman Road a lifetime ago – Wells couldn’t get the ball under control as well as the great man had and the opportunity slid by. A minute later Ebere Eze was executing a dignity stealing nutmeg on Kevin Stewart and aiming for the top corner but Long saved with two hands. When Wells did, emphatically, find the back of the net with a one on one finish he was pulled back by referee Tony Harrington, with whom QPR have extensive history, for an incredibly generous foul on a beaten defender. Later Eze tried his luck with a free kick after Bright Osayi-Samuel drew a foul on the edge of the box but found Long in flying form in the other top corner this time.
Two more followed in the second 45 minutes which quickly became the Ebere Eze show. He and his team mates had already dominated for half an hour straight when he picked up a loose ball from a Hull corner on 75 and set off at speed down the centre of the pitch. Defenders in front and to the side of him quickly became defenders trailing in his wake as he glided away with the close control we’ve come to take for granted from him and a turn of pace I’m not sure any of us quite realised he had. Seventy yards or so were covered in double quick time, dreadlocks stretched out behind him in the wind, carrying him right to the heart of the penalty area where Eric Lichaj decided to take his chances with a foul rather than allow the inevitable shot. Tony Harrington, who’d awarded three penalties against Rangers in two away games last season including the scandalous injury time winner at Bristol City, pointed straight to the spot.
Ryan Manning took our last non-shoot out penalty, against Bristol City in the League Cup, but Eze fancied this one himself and after an interminable delay caused by gamesmanship antics from first Long and then Stewart he very calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner after a long, winding, stuttered run up that took years off my life and games off the goalkeeper’s career. All those attempts to put him off worked a treat, he looked really tense and nervous didn’t he?
There was so much more to come. With time ticking down towards 90, Hull’s frustration at their inability to lay a glove on the game’s star man had started to manifest itself in wild hacks at his shins. With each desperate, cynical lunge came another deft flick, another silky slalom, another show of strength, another drop of the shoulder, another twist of the dreds and another move off beyond the challenger and into space. One, two, three Hull men all had a go as he slipped and tricked his way from the far touchline down to the byline and along into the penalty area. Back he checked, round a fourth man, on he went, ball glued to his foot, like an adult playing in a kids match. It was mesmeric, and it was heading straight for the hapless Lichaj who couldn’t help but trip him again for a second penalty. My word. Eze took the kick himself, tried to sit Long down again, and then, when the goalkeeper didn’t buy it, simply sent the ball screaming into the other bottom corner like a shell. Outstanding. Print it out for Joan.
Hull: Long 7; Lichaj 3, Burke 5, Tafazolli 6, Elder 5; Stewart 5, Honeyman 4 (Toral 77, 6), Irvine 5; Grosicki 4 (Bowler 84, -), Eaves 5 (Magennis 62, 5), Bowen 7
Subs not used: Batty, Ingram, Pennington, Da Silva Lopes
Goals: Bowen 29 (assisted Eaves, pre-assist Long), Magennis 90+6 (assisted Toral)
Bookings: Bowler 90+10 (foul)
QPR: Kelly 6; Rangel 8, Leistner 7, Barbet 6, Manning 8; Scowen 7, Cameron 8; Chair 7 (Amos 83, -), Eze 9, Osayi-Samuel 7 (Pugh 62, 6); Wells 6 (Hugill 62, 6)
Subs not used: Lumley, Kane, Ball, Mlakar
Goals: Manning 44 (unassisted), Eze 75 (penalty, won Eze), 88 (penalty, won Eze)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 7 My heart sank when I saw we had this guy for another away game given his record with us, and for one horrible moment I thought he was going to wave away the first penalty appeal by Eze which was as blatant as they come. But he called that, and the second spot kick, exactly right. I did wonder why Lichaj didn’t see a card for the first one, given that it was a deliberate trip on a player streaking away on goal with no attempt at the ball, and I thought Wells’ disallowed goal in the first half was a very generous call, but overall not too bad.
Cousins, much maligned, picked up where he’d left off against Birmingham with an energetic and physical protection of the defence behind him. Pawel Wszolek took to his task well, tracking back and making key interventions. Mass Luongo gave away a succession of cynical, tactical fouls without seeing a yellow card – when Marlon Pack was later booked for similar we thought we were getting a lot out of referee Tony Harrington. Oh how we’d laugh at that notion later. With the three of Furlong, Leistner and Hall looking relatively untroubled, bar one fumble from an increasingly nervous Joe Lumley for which he was awarded a generous free kick, it all seemed set for a stalemate.
The controversial moment to win the game was just around the corner, but it is worth saying that QPR had basically given up any ambition in this game from the moment Smith went off, engaging in exactly the sort of blatant, flagrant time wasting we’ve seen plague this division this season. Every throw in was turned into a long drawn out affair by Jake Bidwell and Darnell Furlong relentlessly cleaning and polishing the ball. How about throw it to a team mate and complete five or six passes, run the time off much more effectively that way? We don’t seem to grasp that possession of the ball is a far more effective clock runner, far more effective way of demoralising and tiring opponents, than this pretty amateur attempt at cheating. Every one of these throw ins was subsequently hoiked down the line for Hemed to lose the header and Bristol City to come back at us. Our attitude to possession of the ball was criminally bad.
Yeh, in the end we were cheated out of it, but we played incredibly dumb football for the final third of this match, if indeed you can call it football at all. When you start trying to shield one point like that there's always a chance you'll end up with none, even if the referee isn't a wrong 'un.
The penalty, awarded for a foul on Furlong by Diedhiou, was the biggest load of horseshit you’ll see from a referee for quite some time. It was the second Bristol City penalty Harrington has awarded them in as many appointments, and the third he’s given against QPR in two matches this season. Diedhiou’s lousy touch, Furlong in exactly the right position, ball safely back with Lumley, QPR man fouled. Somehow, from somewhere, after a huge delay, a penalty kick. In amongst it all Furlong was booked for being fouled and Joe Lumley, Toni Leistner, Grant Hall, Jake Bidwell and Pawel Wszolek all saw yellow for dissent at the time or after the final whistle.
Their fury was justified, but in the lead up to it Rangers had turned down three opportunities to clear the ball and then given away a dangerous free kick – albeit for an alleged foul by Freeman almost as soft as the penalty itself and then taken with a moving ball. Not the referee’s finest hour – just to put the tin hat on it he waved away a very presentable shout for a foul in the other box on Cousins in the remaining injury time – but equally not Rangers’ either. Braindead play all round.
City: Fielding 6; Pisano 6, Kalas 6, Webster 6, Kelly 5 (Dasilva 45, 7); Pack 6 (Taylor 66, 6), Brownhill 7; Paterson 7, Weimann – (Eliasson 18, 8), O’Dowda 6; Diedhiou 6
Subs not used: Wright, Baker, O’Leary, Palmer
Goals: Eliasson 73 (assisted Paterson), Diedhiou 90 (penalty, won Diedhiou)
Bookings: Pack 62 (foul), Pisano 69 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 5; Furlong 6 (Osayi-Samuel 90+4, -), Leistner 6, Hall 6; Wszolek 6, Bidwell 5; Luongo 6, Cousins 7, Freeman 6; Smith 7 (Hemed 72, 4), Wells 5 (Eze 78, 5)
Subs not used: Ingram, Scowen, Manning, Kakay
Goals: Smith 45 (assisted Bidwell/Wells)
Bookings: Furlong 90+2 (alleged foul), Leistner 90+2 (dissent), Hall 90+2 (dissent), Bidwell 90+7 (foul), Wszolek after final whistle (dissent), Lumley after final whistle (dissent)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Durham) 3 Third completely inept refereeing performance in a row in the league. He’d already been thoroughly odd all the way through the game: letting Luongo off with five fouls including a couple of really cynical trips and one into the groin of an opponent only to then book Pack for his first one; giving a foul against Matt Smith for standing still while an airborne defender smashed into the back of his neck; disallowing a Bristol City goal almost before the corner had even been taken for an offence far less than many he ignored before and after. And then there was the penalty, which much like the handball at Wigan and the failure to send of Maghoma at the weekend was not only plain wrong, it also wasn’t that hard to get right. Given that nothing happened to warrant its award, you can only conclude that the decision – made after an inordinate delay – was crowd influenced. To then flash around six yellow cards in stoppage time to players complaining about it smacked of jumped up small man syndrome. You know when you’ve made a mistake, we all know that horrible hot feeling, just suck it up, get the penalty taken, get full time blown and fuck off home you little scrote, don’t be booking six players for pointing it out to you.
What happened next was a cataclysmic collapse and it started, as ever, with two more goals through that pleasure window immediately before and after half time which QPR love so dearly. First, in the 53rd minute, Barnes skipped round Scowen way too easily, stood Lynch up and unloaded a shot off the base of the far post. Left back Kieran Gibbs slammed in the rebound despite flailing attempts on the line from Osman Kakay and Matt Ingram. Then, two minutes later, Lynch was caught trying to be too clever for his own good in possession on halfway by Phillips who freed Gayle and Scowen deliberately and senselessly tripped him in the penalty box – Rodriguez stuck away the spot kick.
Three more goals followed, in increasingly embarrassing, humiliating and soul-destroying fashion. Leistner dallying over a loose ball in the penalty area hoping his goalkeeper might come and help, Ingram arriving late on the scene with a wild lunge that sent Rodriguez tumbling for a second penalty from referee Tony Harrington. One of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. Rodriguez converted and is now the league’s early pace setter with four goals – three of them penalties. Hal Robson Kanu, on from the bench, nodding down for Phillips to score a sixth untouched and unchallenged. Another sub, James Morrison, running off the back of a static Luke Freeman to square for Robson Kanu himself to add a seventh. The body language spoke volumes. To a man, they’d given up long before the end.
West Brom: Johnston 6; Adarabioyo 6, Bartley 5, Hegazi 6, Gibbs 7; Livermore 7, Brunt 7 (Barry 73, 6); Phillips 8, Barnes 8 (Morrison 86, -), Rodriguez 8; Gayle 8 (Robson Kanu 83, -)
Subs not used: Myhill, Townsend, Burke, Field
Goals: Phillips 28 (assisted Barnes/Gayle), Gibbs 53 (assisted Barnes), Rodriquez 55 (penalty, won Gayle), 82 (penalty, won Rodriguez), Gayle 67 (assisted Gibbs), Phillips 88 (assisted Robson Kanu), Robson Kanu 90+1 (assisted Morrison)
Bookings: Brunt 18 (foul), Bartley 45+3 (foul)
QPR: Ingram 2; Kakay 3, Leistner 2, Lynch 3 (Baptiste 77, 4), Bidwell 3; Scowen 3, Cousins 2; Eze 4 (Washington 58, 3), Freeman 3, Luongo 3; Smith 3 (Wszolek 81, -)
Subs not used: Lumley, Chair, Smyth, Sylla
Goals: Lynch 35 (assisted Freeman/Smith)
Bookings: Scowen 54 (foul)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 8 Very decent, few errors, all major decisions correct, both penalties and all three bookings blatant.
The goal that sealed it was worthy of winning any match. Three minutes after half time Josh Scowen made the most of too much time and too much space 25 yards out from goal to get the ball out of his feet and whip a clean strike round goalkeeper Nick Townsend (making his first start of the season) and into the far bottom corner. Nice to see Scowen get some reward for his hours of thankless toil at the base of a poor side’s engine room, nice to get a still all-too-rare goal from central midfield (something we still desperately need to improve), nice to see a goal of such high quality in such a drab game, and nice for the old player scoring against his former club and player scoring his first goal in 53 appearances to go for us for a change rather than against us. But it was the one shining moment of quality in a game that, particularly in the first half, bordered on being fucking abysmal and even that was celebrated in quite a muted and odd manner because the crowd was still trying to fathom how Matt Smith being dragged to the floor by the throat by everybody’s favourite backseat referee Matt Mills wasn't worthy of a penalty seconds before.
The win was secured despite playing the last 20 minutes of the game with ten men.
Poor Ryan Manning. The young Irishman has endured a terribly frustrating 2017/18 after a breakout season the year before, with first team chances horribly restricted by the form of the Scowemango combination in midfield. Jordan Cousins had been given the nod with the Luongo part of that trio ruled out injured and ill but as he tired and fresh legs were required Manning was an obvious choice from the bench for the final third of the game. Sadly, a propensity to play ourselves into trouble from our own over-complicated dead ball situations reared its head for the umpteenth time on the day as three desperate and out of control passes from a goal kick eventually ended up with Manning arriving hours late with a horror tackle on Barnsley debutant Mills over by the dugout. Referee Tony Harrington had absolutely no choice but to immediately brandish a red card and Manning was off after just four minutes on the pitch – a cameo Samba Diakite would have been proud of.
It was at least watchable by the point, which is more than you could say for a turgid first half spent mostly waiting for referee Harrington to check whether the ball was placed precisely right for corners to be taken. Moncur hit a low shot that Smithies saved comfortably, giant Kieffer Moore did the same after ten minutes fresh from his move from Ipswich in January, and Gardner volleyed over from 15 yards. Adam Hammill drew a great clearance from Nedum Onuoha with one cross, and a splendid one-handed save up in the top corner from Smithies with a dipping volley. Harrington’s decision to book Jordan Cousins for the first foul of the game, then let a series of other poor tackles from both teams slide with just a word on the run, only darkened the mood among what looked like the lowest attendance at this ground for a Saturday league game in many a long year – the announced crowd in excess of 12,000 about as believable as a ‘Sky sources’ story on deadline day. Andy Yiadom, a summer transfer target for Rangers, smacked Jack Robinson with no comeback in one particularly inconsistent moment of refereeing before Gary Gardner was deservedly booked to huge applause for interrupting a counter attack. QPR had one blocked shot from Cousins amongst a twenty second minute goalmouth scramble to show for their ‘efforts’. It was, in all honesty, like watching paint dry. And not very good paint at that.
QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 6, Onuoha 6, Lynch 7; Wszolek 6, Robinson 6; Scowen 7, Freeman 6, Cousins 6 (Manning 67, -); Washington 5 (Bidwell 90, -), Smith 5 (Osayi-Samuel 79, 5)
Subs not used: Ingram, Baptiste, Eze, Oteh
Goals: Scowen 48 (unassisted), Robinson 90+4 (foul)
Red Card: Manning 71 (killing a man to death)
Bookings: Cousins 5 (foul)
Barnsley: Townsend 6; Yiadom 6, Mills 6, Lindsay 6, Pinillos 6 (Mahoney 80, 6); Gardner 6, Williams 6, Hammill 6 (Hedges 68, 5); Moncur 7; Bradshaw 6, Moore 6 (McBurnie 68, 5)
Subs not used: Davies, Mallan, Pearson, Thiam
Bookings: Gardner 31 (foul)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 5 Very decent in his recent appointments with us but a bit of a pain here. Absolutely no arguments with the Manning red card but his decision to issue a ridiculously harsh yellow card to Jordan Cousins so early placed him behind the eight ball for the rest of the half, and he was forced to let several players off with identical offences or risk turning a run-of-the-mill Championship game into an absolute card fest. There was no need to put himself under that pressure. Rangers haven’t had a penalty since the opening day of the season and Matt Smith has been particularly hard done to in that regard – having seen Matt Mills respond to getting the wrong side of his man by yanking him to the floor by the throat just before Scowen’s goal I’m now resigned to us never getting a spot kick ever again.
Yes, Wolves looked good at times, but only in fits and starts. They were hamstrung by first Ivan Cavaleiro and then later substitute striker Bright Enobakhare’s apparent total lack of knowledge of how the offside law works. When Cavaleiro did finally get through on goal with the flag down, he flung himself theatrically to ground in the penalty box under minimal contact from Jack Robinson. Referee Tony Harrington, excellent all afternoon, waved the half-hearted appeals away.
QPR: Smithies 7; Baptiste 6, Lynch 7, Robinson 8; Cousins 6 (Wszolek 66, 6), Bidwell 8; Scowen 8, Freeman 7 (Furlong 90+2, -), Luongo 8; Washington 7, Sylla 6 (Smith 66, 7)
Subs not used: Mackie, Ngbakoto, Lumley, Wheeler
Goals: Washington 41 (assisted Luongo), Smith 82 (assisted Lynch)
Bookings: Bidwell 45+1 (foul), Luongo 79 (foul), Lynch 90+6 (foul)
Wolves: Ruddy 6; Batth 5, Coady 5, Doherty 6, Douglas 7; Neves 6 (Marshall 84, -), Miranda 6, Saiss 6; Cavaleiro 4 (Costa 57, 6), Bonatini 6 (Enobakhareat 71, 4), Jota 7
Subs not used: N’Diaye, Bennett, Boly, Norris
Goals: Bonatini 43 (assisted Jota)
Bookings: Saiss 90+5 (foul)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 9 I continue to be disconcertingly impressed with the quality of Championship refereeing this season, and how there seems to be a concerted effort not to smother games with cards and endless whistle. I suspect the Wolves equivalent of this site would give him a five and say they should have had a penalty but I thought that would have been soft and he set his stall out early on that just because there’s contact, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a foul. By waving away a few early cheap ones he contributed to the flow and tempo of the game.
It remained 1-0 until half time, although quite how, nobody could be sure. Ngbakoto struck a fresh air shot when well placed two minutes later, then did connect with a fierce volley from the edge of the area when a cross was cleared up in the air – Davies did well to save. James Perch, already yellow carded for his weekly attempt to kill a man to death with a wild hack which actually seemed to do more damage to him than anybody else, crashed a header off the underside of the bar having arrived at the back post all the way from right back.
The result was the Tykes drew a blank from 45 minutes of football when most sides would have scored at least twice. Watkins and Armstrong’s finishing, if not their movement which was too much for Onuoha and Hall at times, made one grateful Tom Bradshaw spent the first half on the bench. That was corrected at half time, but only after the fourth official and referee Tony Harrington had faffed about making sure he had the regulation socks on.
QPR: Smithies 6; Perch 6 (Furlong 48, 7), Onuoha 6, Hall 5, Bidwell 7; Luongo 7, Manning 7, Freeman 8; Wszolek 8 (Washington 70, 6), Sylla 7, Ngbakoto 6 (Morrison 87, -)
Subs not used: Goss, Ingram, Doughty, Smith
Goals: Sylla 7, MacDonald og 66 (assisted Wszolek)
Bookings: Perch 14 (foul), Bidwell 83 (foul), Manning 86 (foul)
Barnsley: Davies 6; Yiadom 6, Roberts 6, MacDonald 6, Elder 5; Scowan 7, James 7, Mowatt 6 (Bradshaw 45, 7), Kent 6 (Hammill 77, 6); Watkins 6 (Hedges 73, 6), Armstrong 6
Subs not used: Moncur, Townsend, Jackson, Jones
Bookings: Hammill 85 (foul)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 6 Bit fussy, but not too bad overall. The Bradshaw nonsense at half time seemed pedantic in the extreme.
There’s something about Queens Park Rangers playing games in this part of the world against teams managed by Owen Coyle that turns assistant referees into incompetent, window-licking morons, incapable of finding their own arse with both hands or identifying the blatantly obvious when it occurs right in front of their face.
Joining Bob Pollock in the hall of horrors this week is Tony Peart. Or, perhaps, some random member of the Blackburn branch of the Royal Society for the Blind on whom Tony Peart had played a cruel trick earlier in the day, quietly swapping the guide dog for a flag without the poor bastard noticing and shoving him off in the direction of Ewood Park.
In fairness to Pollock – not a sentence I ever thought I’d be starting – Clint Hill’s famous ghost goal against Coyle’s Bolton in 2012 never actually hit the ground. On that occasion goalkeeper Adam Bogdan clawed a header out from well behind the line after it had kissed the underside of the bar on the way in. That happened fast.
Quite what defence Saturday’s scrotum can offer for his abomination I’m not sure. It began with a long throw from Darnell Furlong, who doesn’t really have a lone throw. This was no Dave Challinor/Rory Delap-style missile, more a gentle loft into the vague vicinity of the area. Using every inch of his height and straining every neck muscle substitute Matt Smith was able to help the ball on to Conor Washington who, in similar style, looped a header over goalkeeper Jason Steele, onto the underside of the bar and down into the net.
The ball never got above snail’s pace throughout. The whole thing happened in super slow motion. The ball dropped so far over the line it actually didn’t land on the grass at all, but came to rest on the artificial turf which surrounds the Ewood Park pitch. This was not, by any stretch of any pathetic excuses this anal gimp may come up with, a difficult decision to make.
Peart, whose positioning four yards away from the byline suggests he’d switched off and started thinking about other things, realised he was in trouble and sidestepped down the touchline to get himself level with the goal – where he should have been in the first place – after the incident had happened, presumably hoping the ball might have stopped dead where it landed so he could have a look. Of course, it hadn’t, long gone by now, and so with nothing to go on Peart delivered a firm no – shaking his head and waving his hands in the manner of a man absolutely sure of his decision.
We can talk about goalline technology in the Championship all we like – not much of a discussion, it should absolutely be here and should have been here since it was introduced in the Premier League – but the simple fact is this one was blatantly fucking obvious. A one-eyed, drunk chimp could have told you it was a goal.
Blackburn: Steele 6; Nyambe 6, Greer 6 (Akpan 70, 6), Lenihan 6, Lowe 6; Feeney 7, Mulgrew 6, Conway 6 (Mahoney 65, 6), Bennett 6; Gallagher 7, Graham 5 (Emnes 65, 7)
Subs not used: Joao, Guthrie, Brown, Raya
Goals: Gallagher 90+1 (assisted Emnes)
QPR: Smithies 6; Furlong 6 (Lua Lua 90+4, -), Onuoha 6, Lynch 6, Bidwell 7; Luongo 6 (Morrison 78, 5), Perch 6, Manning 7; Mackie 6 (Smith 62, 6), Washington 6, Wszolek 6
Subs not used: Freeman, Hall, Goss, Ingram
Bookings: Perch 59 (foul), Manning 80 (foul), Furlong 90+1 (foul)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 6 Quite a decent referee actually from what we’ve seen of him this season. Good with the advantage, not too hot with the cards, tries to give games a good chance. Sadly, completely let down by an assistant referee here who should certainly be considering a change of career, or a full frontal lobotomy. Useless fucking prick.
QPR: Smithies 6; Perch 6, Hall 8, Lynch 7, Bidwell 6; Manning 6 (El Khayati 68, 6), Cousins 6, Borysiuk 6 (Onuoha 58, 7); Mackie 7, Wzsolek 7, Sylla 7 (Washington 38, 5)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 8 Right fussy plonker when we had him earlier this season for Swindon but this was a well controlled game, allowed to flow, with no cards, and no big decisions wrong.
Referee Tony Harrington exacerbated matters, stopping the play unnecessarily frequently - including the very generous award of a free kick on the halfway line to QPR who might have liked him not to bother and allow them to streak away in a three v one attack instead. Several yellow cards were awarded completely at random. On three separate occasions play was brought back because a restart was adjudged to have been executed with a moving ball. It was the very definition of ball ache.
Regular time ended with Swindon booting Chery up in the air by the dugouts, then surrounding him and screaming in his face like a Terry family Christmas. Referee Harrington booked Karl Henry for the incident. Hasselbaink did his fellow Dutchman a favour, wrestling him away from the incident and off down the tunnel until things calmed.
The farce dragged on, with scant regard for local last orders regulations. Referee Harrington had a prolonged discussion with Swindon manager Williams before taking no action.
QPR: Ingram 7; Furlong 6, Onuoha 6, Lynch 5 (Polter 78, 7), Perch 5; Ngabakoto 6 (Kpekawa 71, 5), Henry 6, Cousins 6, Shodipo 6 (Chery 58, 7); El Khayati 5; Washington 5
Subs not used: Smithies, Hall, Gladwin, Kakay
Goals: Ngabakoto 58 (assisted El Khayati), Washington 93 (assisted Chery)
Bookings: Perch 57 (foul), Henry 90+2 (unsporting), Polter 103 (foul)
Swindon: Vigouroux 7; Jones 5, Thomas 6, Thompson 6 (Iandolo 61, 6), Sendles-White 6; Brophy 6, Rogers 6, Kasim 7 (Smith 65, 6), Barry 6; Hylton 6 (Stewart 65, 7), Norris 6
Subs not used: Goddard, Henry, Evans, Young
Goals: Stewart 72 (unassisted), Brophy 107 (unassisted)
Bookings; Barry 90+2 (unsporting), Stewart 112 (foul)
Referee – Tony Harrington (Cleveland) 5 A right pedantic arsehole.
Ninty yellows and five reds in 34 appointments so far this season, led by the eight yellows and two reds handed out at Bournemouth v Watford as the visitors snapped under provocation from Jefferson Lerma’s constant gamesmanship. His only Luton appointment this term was a 2-0 loss at Millwall back in October.
A flurry of four yellow cards in three games at the end of last season, including two in Wycombe’s 4-1 play-off win at Fleetwood, boosted his totals to 89 yellows (2.617) and seven reds in 34 games overall. Three Luton appointments last year included a 7-0 loss at Brentford, two of which came from the penalty spot.
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