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Gavin Ward returns to Loftus Road for Preston clash - Referee
Tuesday, 16th Apr 2024 09:14 by Clive Whittingham

QPR’s stomach-knotting Saturday evening home game with Preston North End has been placed in the hands of Gavin Ward.

Referee>> Gavin Ward (Surrey), five defeats in a row for QPR with this official.

Assistants >>> Adam Crysell (Northants) and Lee Venamore (Kent)

Fourth Official >>> Lee Swabey (Devon)


Huddersfield 2 QPR 1, Saturday October 21, 2023, Championship

Firstly, Dutch forward Doctor Zoidberg, who has spent his entire career to date playing on the continent, dived in the penalty area, just as he’d done in the first few minutes of the game. This one so egregious that even Keith Stroud’s mogwai Gavin Ward was moved to issue a yellow card. No card for Jonathan Hogg mind, not for cracking through Ilias Chair after ten minutes, nor for deliberately pulling back Jack Colback as he advanced into the Huddersfield half in this instance. Ward’s policing of tactical fouls and repeat offenders is every bit as haphazardly inconsistent as his enforcement of the supposedly strengthened time-wasting rules – Lee Nicholls, in the home goal, at one point allowed to stand with the ball in his hand for half a minute, only for his team mate Yuta Nakayama to be carded for delaying the taking of a free kick by all of five or six seconds having only just stepped off the bench. Then, as if we needed any confirmation the summer’s latest clampdown had lasted all of two rounds, just the standard five minutes added to the end. You’d genuinely get a better product having a random draw machine referee your game than this elf.

Huddersfield: Nicholls 5; Pearson 6 (Nakayama 81, -), Helik 7, Lees 6; Thomas 6, Rudoni 8, Hogg 7, Wiles 5, Koroma 6 (Headley 67, 5); Zoidberg 5 (Hudlin 82, -), Harratt 6

Subs not used: Edmonds-Green, Diarra, Maxwell, Austerfield, Jackson

Goals: Harratt 8 (assisted Rudoni), Rudoni 14 (assisted Thomas)

Bookings: Zoidberg 47 (diving, not the first time), Nakayama 85 (time wasting, harsh)

QPR: Begovic 5; Kakay 3 (Canon 70, 6), Dunne 4, Clarke-Salter 6; Adomah 4 (Kolli 74, 5), Colback 6 (Dixon-Bonner 74, 5), Field 5, Dozzell 6, Paal 6 (Larkeche 75, 4); Chair 5, Armstrong 4 (Smyth 64, 5)

Subs not used: Willock, Archer, Kelman, Duke-McKenna

Goals: Clarke-Salter 44 (assisted Dozzell)

Bookings: Chair 34 (foul), Colback 45+4 (foul)

Referee - Gavin Ward (Surrey) 5 Nothing massively problematic but you can just tell when people are refereeing a game without a feel or understanding of what it is they’re actually in charge of. After about ten minutes here somebody, I think Hogg, absolutely clattered through the back of Ilias Chair and left him on the ground. You and I know this is obviously a deliberate act, early in the game, by an experienced player, almost certainly talked about in the home team prep, against what would probably be considered our best player and somebody who has played very well against Huddersfield in recent meetings. Ward played advantage, but what advantage is there with QPR two v six in the opposition half and our best attacker down holding his spine? Particularly when you don’t return to book the aggressor. Chair was furious, and ended up booked himself out of frustration, while Ward was incredulous that the Moroccan wasn’t delighted he’d played on as we had the ball. That’s just lack of understanding of the sport you’re in charge of. Another example was the booking of Nakayama for time wasting over a late free kick when, for me, he’d done nothing of the sort and actually only been on the pitch 30 seconds. Ward is doing that because he didn’t have the gumption to do anything about Nicholls repeatedly standing with the ball in his hands for 20-30 seconds at a time without releasing it. To punish that would require an indirect free kick in the box, and all manner of hassle, so he doesn’t do it. He shows a token yellow card to somebody else in a neutral part of the pitch to show everybody how stern and authoritative he is on such things, and then adds the standard five minutes on at the end anyway. I’m going to keep repeating this for him, Jeremy Simpson, David Webb, Keith Stroud etc but it is little short of a disgrace, with the money washing around in the sport in this country, a tiny portion of which we could use to revolutionise the training, recruitment, retention and therefore talent pool of match officials, that you’ve got referees of this standard in charge of games this high up the ladder in this country. It’s a shame and stain on the sport.

Wigan 1 QPR 0, Saturday April 1, 2023, Championship

Five minutes in and one huge great big long punt down the right side of the pitch took Jimmy Dunne completely out of the game and moved the home side from one penalty box to the other in one fell wallop. Balogun came across, a heavy odds-on favourite to reach the ball first, and had two enormous great stands in front of him crying out to be hit with a routine clearance. Having conceded after one minute at Blackpool, and two minutes against Birmingham, keeping it tight early here, and not taking any silly risks against one of the few teams still left below us in the league would, one would have thought, been something of a priority. Balgoun started by running past the ball entirely, taking a situation well within his control to one fraught with danger with Daniel Sinani now goalside and inside rather than out of the picture completely. Like when you realise you’re really drunk, and yet there’s still more drunk to come, turning back and recovering from there tends to only be achievable by doing a large sick. That took the form of a ludicrous tackle, fully airborne, from behind, from the wrong side, right at the moment Sinani entered the penalty box. School for the gifted. When you talk about the best footballers visualising a “picture in their mind” of how it’s meant to look, this was a lesser spotted Roger Hargreaves sketch of Mr Tickle caught having a wank in a public toilet. Obviously totally fucking ridiculous, and a penalty so blatant even Gavin Ward could spot it.

Rob Dickie’s similar personal decline continued apace here, frequently shifting the ball out of his feet on the right side of the three centre backs and then very determinedly walloping it high into the side stand for a Wigan throw before standing there with that sort of stupefied look on his face, as if this were the only possible course of action available to him. Like a brick with two eyes drawn on it in marker pen. In the second half, after one such incident, he stood there admiring the work so long Wigan were able to take the throw, get in behind him, and draw a deliberate foul and obvious yellow card. Within two minutes he’d reached out and grabbed Aasgaard’s shirt as he ran past him in back play and while the free kick appeared incredibly soft, and not one Ward was initially going to even award, having belatedly blown the whistle and given it we’re perhaps lucky he didn’t issue an immediate second yellow card and subsequent red. Particularly the mood the referee was in on Saturday which at times was only a blue t-shirt away from just dropping the pretence and playing as Wigan’s twelfth man.

Wigan: Amos 6; Hughes 7, Whatmough 7, Rekik 6; Darikwa 6, Power 6, Tiehi 7 (Nyambe 90, -), McClean 6; Sinani 6 (Aarsgaard 33, 6), Fletcher 5, Lang 6 (Naylor 66, 6)
Goals: Power 5 (penalty, won Sinani)

Bookings: Power 82 (foul), Rekik 90+3 (kicking ball away)

QPR: Dieng 5; Dickie 3, Balogun 4, Dunne 4 (Chair 45, 5); Laird 3 (Drewe 80, -), Johansen 4 (Adomah 75, 4), Field 5, Paal 4; Dykes 5 (Lowe 66, 4), Martin 3, Willock 4 (Dozzell 75, 4)

Subs not used: Archer, Amos

Bookings: Laird 19 (foul) Dickie 50 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 4 Got the penalty right, and that was about it. Brought the biggest cheer of the day from the away end by fucking off near the end with an injury apparently so horrendous he couldn’t possibly do another couple of minutes and injury time — maybe we should sign him up, he’d fit in well. Only in a country that his invested so little in the recruitment, training and retention of referees, all while the sport is awash with cash like nowhere else on the planet, would somebody of this standard be refereeing games this high up its league system.

QPR 0 Luton 3, Thursday December 29, 2022, Championship

QPR: Dieng 5; Laird 5, Dickie 5, Dunne 5, Paal 5; Shodipo 5 (Adomah 78, 5), Iroegbunam 4, Field 5, Chair 5 (Willock 66, 5); Roberts 4 (Richards 78, 6), Dykes 4

Subs not used: Kakay, Amos, Archer, Masterson

Luton: Horvath 6; Bree 7, Lockyer 7, Potts 7 (Freeman 76, 6); Clark 7; Doughty 8, Campbell 7 (Berry 85, -), Mpanzu 7, Bell 7; Morris 8 (Jerome 85, -), Cornick 7 (Woodrow 58, 7)

Subs not used: Adebayo, Watson, Isted

Goals: Morris 10 (assisted Doughty), 47 (assisted Bree), Doughty 81 (assisted Morris)

Bookings: Doughty 43 (foul), Clark 67 (foul), Potts 72 (dissent), Mpanzu 76 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 6 Really struggles to police time wasting and any sort of clock running — Luton deciding they were having a water break mid-match seemed to flummox him, and the beautiful Jack and Rose moment between Potts and Doughty by the South Africa Road stand in the second half was laughably farcical — but there was nothing to referee here and he was fine by and large.

QPR 1 Huddersfield 2, Tuesday November 8, 2022, Championship

Of course Nicholls, and every one of his team mates, desperate for that first away win of the season, began time wasting blatantly, ridiculously early in the game. Referee Gavin Ward did what referee Gavin Ward does — a lot of exaggerated pointing, a lot of rolling his hands around in a ‘get going’ motion, a lot of whistling and demanding it be taken relatively soon if you feel like it, a lot of watch tapping (but not a lot of watch stopping as it turns out, five minutes added to this one which is funnier than any comedy that’s been on the BBC in 20 years), and absolutely nothing by way of punishment, deterrent or action at all. In the end, three yellow cards were shown for time wasting, all in the stoppage time period. By that point it’s done its job, there is no deterrent, you’ve been played. Nicholls’ card, just to really rub it in, was handed out after he’d taken the goal kick, so we had to go all the way to the end of the pitch and fetch the ball back for him to go through the whole routine again. Thick as pig shit. When Thomas was booked, Ward held up four fingers to signal he’d been warned four times about it. Why does it need five incidents for a card? Why are referees so happy to decimate their authority in a game and make themselves look like such complete fucking mugs like this? Who is assessing this guy? Why is this acceptable? Why is football just accepting this and letting it happen? Why? I don’t understand. It’s so, so simple to solve. One warning, when it starts, and then a yellow card, early enough for the bloke not to do it again. It cooks my brain. If anybody needs me I'll be in the bath with my toaster.

QPR: Dieng 6; Laird 5 (Bonne 71, 5), Balogun 4 (Dunne 46, 6), Clarke-Salter 4, Paal 6; Iroegbunam 6, Field 6; Adomah 5 (Shodipo 83, -), Willock 5 (Richards 77, 7), Chair 6; Dykes 6

Subs not used: Dickie, Archer, Dozzell

Goals: Dykes 1 (assisted Willock)

Huddersfield: Nicholls 8; Spencer 5 (Hayden 45, 6), Helik 8, Boyle 8, Ruffels 8; Diarra 5 (Rhodes 58, 5), Rudoni 7, Holmes 6 (Mahoney 69, 6); Thomas 7, Ward 5, Jackson 5 (MBete 90+1, -)

Subs not used: Bilokopic, Ondo, Ayina

Goals: Ruffels 9 (assisted Rudoni), 26 (assisted Boyle)

Bookings: Spencer 45 (foul), Ward 75 (foul), Thomas 89 (time wasting), Nicholls 90+1 (time wasting), Rhodes 90+5 (time wasting)

Referee (ostensibly) — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 3 So a few weeks back we had Bristol City away, which for our group means a post-match curry at the excellent 4500 Miles From Delhi restaurant. There’s a chicken dish in there comes with a warning from the chef. Hook it to my veins. I had to drive back from there because of the train strikes but there was beer in the fridge when I got home and a long celebratory sit into the night was held to mark the victory. On Sunday I took my other half out for Sunday lunch as we weren’t seeing each other for the following two weeks because of a work trip, and to go with a big thick roast dinner we lashed out on two bottles of wine and then talked about what a big mistake that was for a while. I have a Monday club with my mates after work where we play football and head off to the pub after that, so you can probably stick another half dozen Peronis onto the intake the day after too, along with a reheated sausage casserole that I’d cooked at some point the previous week and didn’t think would go another day so wolfed down in the middle of the night when I crashed in late and drunk. Tuesday was Sheff Utd, which was preceded by an enormous, spicy calzone at Mama and Leonie’s and the usual beer intake for an away win. By Wednesday I was hanging, I don’t remember the journey home at all, which is a concern because I was driving. Shortly after getting out of my car back at home my body gave a very clear signal that it had had enough, and I had 30 seconds to get it up the stairs where it could have enough in a place where I could dispose of the cards it was about to deal me, or else. Well if it isn’t the consequences of my own actions coming back to haunt me. What came out of me over the next half an hour was like nothing I’d ever seen or smelt before on this earth. It was a fucking sentient being, with wild and dangerous opinions of its own, and it made it very clear straight away that it hated me as its creator. At one point I actually found myself praying for it to stop - surely there could be no more. Absolute costume of a man. I got through a whole can of Sure Body Spray for Men, emptied out into the air in one long stream, just so I could stand to be in the same room as myself long enough to clean up and flush the thing away. It knocked £27,000 off the value of the house. I swear to fucking Christ, it glowed in the dark. Had I, instead of pulling the chain and fleeing the neighbourhood, stuck around, got on my hands and knees, scooped whatever in the name of God it was out of the bowl with my bare hands, put it in a leaky bag-for-life from Sainsbury’s, carried it all the way down the Northern Line in the rush hour and around the Hammersmith and City Line to Wood Lane, walked it down to Loftus Road and out onto the pitch, tipped it out onto the centre spot and stuck a whistle in the top of it, not only would it have been a more pleasurable experience than watching Gavin Ward referee this game, but it would have done a better fucking job of it than he did.

QPR 0 Fulham 2, Saturday April 2, 2022, Championship

Then the game started. And, look, we’re going to talk a little bit about the refereeing at some point because Rangers had reasonable cause to feel aggrieved with several things and from the moment Fulham responded to the non-award of a corner in the third minute as some sort of war crime Gavin Ward’s primary objective for the afternoon seemed to be trying not to get shouted at by Aleksander Mitrovic, which isn’t really what we’re going for in standards of officialdom I shouldn’t have thought.

Chino Warbs’ post-match Warbleton did, once again, raise the standard of refereeing. Fulham didn’t need a leg up in this game, but got one a quarter of an hour from the end when Lee Wallace was very harshly adjudged to have handled in the area as a cross hit him from close range with his elbow in what was deemed an unnatural position by the referee — not, though, the linesman looking straight at it. I’d have wanted it at the other end to be honest with you, but it was debatable and stung a little when Mitrovic calmly slotted in the second goal from the spot to kill the contest just as Rangers had chucked Charlie Austin on and gone to two up front.

I was more troubled by some of the other decisions and game management. I’ve praised the way Fulham played their football, not only the best team in the league by a distance but the best team this division has seen for several seasons for my money, but the genuine, died-in-the-wool, old-school Fulham fans can’t possibly like or approve of the way they behave with the match officials. Dion Sanderson’s well executed last-ditch tackle on Cairney two minutes after half time brought another huge song and dance routine, Harry Wilson’s hideous dive in the penalty box on 65 minutes should surely have yielded a yellow card. In the end the only person that was booked for dissent was Lee Wallace, obviously pulled back and prevented from getting on the end of an attacking one-two on 51 minutes and rightly furious when Ward somehow waved play-on. Not a difficult decision to get right, Wallace immediately penalised himself with a booking and a free kick for grabbing the referee by the arm which you obviously cannot do — but, then, I didn’t think you were allowed to charge 20 yards across the field to scream in the referee’s face either?

QPR, as we’ve said before, waaaaay too nice at times. When Harrison Reed decided he fancied a little sit down five minutes from the end the time wasting was so egregious even Ward was in favour of playing on until Rodak threw the ball out to force the issue — under duress from four Fulham players Lee Wallace threw them the ball back after the “treatment” when we should have been doing nothing of the sort. I was actually quite glad to see John Eustace getting involved in stoppage time when one of the Fulham coaching staff started doing keep-ups with the ball in the technical area instead of returning it for the QPR throw (to be fair to him, brilliant touch). Eustace wasn’t having it, but actually seemed to mistake the fourth official (Carl Boyeson, who you may remember for a farcical performance away at Barnsley in the Adel Taarabt game ten years ago) for one of the visiting coaches and pushed him down the touchline which is always going to be a red card. Warburton got a yellow for good measure, but the guy who’d actually caused the whole thing wasn’t even spoken to. Ward about as useful as a marzipan dildo, and a good deal smaller than you’d ideally like one of those too.

QPR: Westwood 6; Odubajo 6, Sanderson 6, Dickie 6, Barbet 6, Wallace 6; Johansen 5 (Chair 70, 6), Field 6, Amos 6 (Dozzell 79, 5); Thomas 7 (Austin 73, 5), Dykes 5

Subs not used: McCallum, Dunne, Hendrick, Mahoney

Bookings: Wallace 51 (dissent), Barbet 76 (foul), Field 90+1 (foul)

Fulham: Rodak 6; Williams 7, Tosin 7, Ream 6, Bryan 6; Reed 7 (Seri 87, -), Cairney 8 (Chalobah 75, 6); Wilson 7, Carvalho 8, Reid 7 (Kebano 79, 6); Mitrovic 8

Subs not used: Tete, Hector, Muniz, Gazzaniga

Goals: Mitrovic 14 (assisted Carvalho), 78 (penalty, handball)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 5 God the standard of refereeing in this league is abysmal. Given that he’s been given this match, a local derby between two supposed promotion contenders at the business end of the season, it’s pretty safe to assume that the PGMOL view him as one of their best at this level at the moment, possibly one of the ones they’re considering for promotion and, well, just look at the absolute state of it.

QPR 2 Blackpool 1, Wednesday February 23, 2022, Championship

Then, an actual goal. Chair’s inswinging, right-sided corner turned left exactly at the moment he desired, and Grimshaw had to palm the danger behind. Ward spent so long chatting so much irrelevant shit to so many people in the penalty box prior to the second delivery I thought I’d stumbled into some fucking hideous industry cocktail party by mistake, and the obligatory soft free kick to the defensive team for some vague hint at a pushing offence or other seemed inevitable. You couldn’t fault the delivery from Johansen, and Jimmy Dunne’s backward step worked enough space for him to head home a third goal of the season with relative ease.

Confidence. Crowd. Atmosphere. What is this sorcery? Rangers are back, Rangers are back, hello. Hello. Still a little fragile naturally, and still not buzzing enough to threaten from a direct free kick on the edge of the area eight minutes before half time (Chair and Stef overcomplicating things, maybe they should give Yoann Barbet a go at those) but a good deal better than it’s been since the demolition of Reading. Now relax into it, shift through the gears, let them do the chasing, pick off the space behind them, win the game, Winchester, cold pint, blow over. Dion Sanderson was then red carded. International Year of the Wally Brain. Initially, brilliant defending, strong and determined, blasting through Reece James (not that one) and carrying the ball away to sanctuary. The foul on him was rotten — a thick yellow. Standing up and headbutting him… Provocation - fair enough. Young lad, everybody makes mistakes, red mist, hot head — mitigation. A football headbutt, rather than something the people of Glasgow may greet you with — sure. But in the context of the game, and the season, and the situation, five minutes before half time, one of the more braindead things you’ll see. If you are going to do it, and I really wouldn’t advise you do, maybe Tina Turner’s hair circa 1987 isn’t the one for you. The mane swayed with the jerk of the neck. Even Gavin Ward notices things like that.

Madine’s header on 53 minutes seemed certain to level the scores until Dieng got across and made a big camera save. That was part of a prolonged and exhausting Blackpool press that lasted ten minutes or more, and when the goalkeeper then tried to give his team a breather with some flagrant time wasting he was carded immediately. Saints be praised, finally, a referee taking decisive action over clock running, at a point in the game when the punishment meant something and would alter behaviour. All season, all season long, I’ve bitched and moaned and whined about the complete inaction and complicity of officials in this blite on our game, and finally here was Gavin Ward doing something about it. Strange though, I remember a referee looking very much like Gavin Ward, and sharing the same name, subjecting us to a testicle-aching 45 minutes of exaggerated hand waving, watch pointing, arm swinging and complete and utter lack of any affirmative or effective action whatsoever while Barnsley’s Brad Collins did everything bar lay out a fucking picnic blanket and serve drinks at that end of the ground when we were chasing down a deficit against them back in August, and now here was this Mr Hard Arse On Time Wasting doppleganger chucking cards around before the hour. You can be incompetent as a referee, you only have to sit through a few minutes of this season’s Championship to know that, but you cannot be unfair.

QPR: Dieng 7; Adomah 7, Sanderson 4, Dunne 7, Barbet 7, Odubajo 8; Hendrick 7, Field 8 Johansen 7 (Amos 67, 7); Chair 7 (Thomas 83, -), Willock 6 (Ball 45, 8)

Subs not used: Austin, Dozzell, Gray, Marshall

Goals: Dunne 31 (assisted Johansen), Amos 89 (assisted Thomas)

Red Cards: Sanderson 40 (violent conduct)

Yellow Cards: Dieng 58 (time wasting), Ball 70 (NO DOM), Sam Field 90+3 (retaliation)

Blackpool: Grimshaw 6; Lawrence-Gabriel 6, Sterling 7, Casey 6, Thorniley 6, James 5 (Madine 45, 4); Bowler 7, Connolly 6, Dougall 6, Hamilton 5 (Dale 66, 6); Lavery 5 (Yates 75, 5)

Subs not used: Stewart, Moore, Robson, Kirk

Goals: Bowler 82 (assisted Connolly)

Yellow Cards: James 40 (foul), Bowler 90+2 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 5 Difficult one to mark. The sending off is obviously the only decision to give there, all on Sanderson. The Seny Dieng yellow card for time wasting was also justified and was in time to change the behaviour which is what I’ve been bitching and moaning about all year, and yet came with an immense amount of frustration that we sat through that whole second half against Barnsley here with the goalkeeper taking the absolute piss while Ward waved his arms around solving nothing but now suddenly he’s all proactive over clock running. There were a series of incredibly soft free kicks awarded towards the end, particularly the one under G Block that allowed Pool to whip a dangerous late cross over where the striker literally just fell over onto the ball and demanded he be rewarded for it. I don’t know, really — five?

QPR 2 Barnsley 2, Saturday August 21, 2021, Championship

Styles, in my opinion, could easily have been sent off for his horrible hack to Stefan Johansen which went over the line from tactical foul into dangerous and reckless foul play. Referee Gavin Ward, showing all the strength of a warm bottle of Foster’s all afternoon, showed him a yellow, and also booked Yoann Barbet for his reaction. Because in football, trying to snap somebody’s leg to stop an attack, and getting a bit cross about it, are the same thing.

Barnsley set the pattern to their advantage in the first half, and to their disadvantage in the second. Collins’ behaviour, and Ward’s frankly rather pathetic attempts at dealing with it, sent the message loud and clear that the Tykes were done for the day and would very much like it to be over. The only question now was could Rangers get the ball back into play often enough, and create the amount of chances they needed, to score the two goals required. Yoann Barbet’s insistence that he can take free kicks, and now long throws too apparently (Fitz Hall rides again), neither of which is remotely true, did not assist the cause. Should he ever successful accomplish either, a public holiday shall be declared for the following Monday.

Ilias Chair was a good deal more effective marauding down the left after some excellent defensive work by Chris Willock and then the perfect ball to spring him forward. Having jinked, turned and twisted two Barnsley players out of the game he wound up on the corner of the six yard box and then found the roof of the net with a spectacular finish. Bloody needed to as well, the outstanding Dom Ball was plum centre of goal for a tap in had he pulled it back. Chair, though, lucky to stay on the field himself moments later when, adrenalin pumping, he launched into an absolute horror show on Barnsley sub Jasper Moon. A clear red, not the first, or the last, obviously wrong decision on an afternoon of refereeing that veered unhappily between inept and insipid.

QPR: Dieng 6; Thomas 4 (Ball 36, 8), Dickie 6, De Wijs 6 (Dunne 46, 7), Barbet 7, Kakay 5; Johansen 7, Dozzell 4 (Adomah 36, 8), Chair 7; Willock 7, Austin 5

Subs not used: Archer, Kelman, Duke-McKenna

Goals: Chair 76 (unassisted), Austin 90+1 (assisted Barbet)

Bookings: Barbet 56 (retaliation) Chair 78 (foul)

Barnsley: Collins 7; Sibbick 6, Helik 7, Kitching 7; Brittain 7, Palmer 7 (Moon 60, 5), Benson 8 (Halme 81, -), Styles 7; Frieser 7, Woodrow 7, Odour 7 (Cole 69, 5)

Subs not used: Walton, Williams, Adeboyejo, Thompson

Goals: Frieser 14 (assisted Kitching), Woodrow 27 (assisted Styles)

Bookings: Benson 49 (foul), Styles 56 (foul), Kitching 70 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 3 Gavin Ward used to be a bit of a terror in his youth, promoted way too high above his level way too soon in his career and lacking the experience, self confidence and man management ability to control Championship matches. They’d regularly turn into a farce, as our 2010/11 game at Portsmouth did so memorably. As he’s got older and gained experience he’s actually become one of the better referees at this level, but he shouldn’t reflect on his involvement in this game with any kind of pride at all. Some of it is open to debate and interpretation. Styles should have been sent off for the tackle of Johansen. That’s my opinion, you may not share it. For me it was more than a cynical foul like the one Kitching was subsequently booked for against Adomah, it was a nasty and dangerous tackle. To book Yoann Barbet for his reaction to it only made things worse — how on earth can those two crimes merit the same punishment? Some of it though, was just very obviously wrong, and quite often not very difficult to get right. Goal kicks awarded when the goalkeeper had obviously saved it, corners given when it had clearly gone off an attacker. Ilias Chair’s tackle is a red card. Absolute horror show, bottled by the referee who’d already largely lost control of the game by that stage, largely through his outright refusal to police Collins’ timewasting. That could have been killed stone dead with the yellow card it deserved around 60 minutes. To persist throughout the second half with a lot of pointing, yelling, and waving his arm around in the air, while the goalkeeper did exactly as he pleased, completely destroyed any remaining authority Ward had in this game. On more than one occasion the keeper stood with the ball in his hands in excess of 20 seconds, often with the crowd loudly counting them out for the officials. To still do nothing about it meant the game ended up refereeing him, rather than the other way around, because why are you going to pay attention to anybody this weak? Control of the game non-existent, big decisions wrong, dangerous play unpunished. A total pig’s ear of a performance. A real shambles.

QPR 2 Brentford 1, Wednesday February 17, 2021, Championship

And for a while, that’s exactly how it was. QPR certainly not looking like a team in any kind of form, overawed and overwhelmed, conceding possession and free kicks with alarming frequency. Dom Ball fouled a geezer straight from the kick off, and kept committing fouls even after referee Gavin Ward had cautioned him for doing so too frequently, placing him on a red card tightrope. Occasionally they managed to gather themselves for a collective high press, Geoff Cameron particularly impressive with some snappy early interventions on halfway, but quite often having achieved the victory of forcing Brentford to go long from occasional goalkeeper David Raya they then lost the first header and second ball anyway. Ivan Toney, on the odd occasions he remained upright, was a predictable handful.

There was, inevitably, a goal. A lesser goal than Jensen’s would have been, obviously, but a goal all the same, and he was involved. No surprise it originated down the left, where Henry and Canos v Kane and Kane was a veritable footballing carvery — Rangers’ outnumbered and outclassed full back having to admit defeat with a deliberate foul and yellow card, Jensen whipping essentially an undefendable free kick into the near post and England’s Ivan Toney peeling away to flick in his fifty eighth goal of this magnificent season. Later he’d strike a free kick of his own marginally over via a flick off the top of the wall.

First half, with all the ball, and none of the opposition, a rosier garden never hath grown. Canos gliding around, Toney bullying the smaller boys, Jensen doing fucking rainbow flicks. Second half, without it, a rather spectacular wilt. QPR weren’t having it any more, and Brentford didn’t really know what to do about that. Jensen went from best player on the pitch to bare bystander — turfing one sitter over the bar with better options for a pass with the carefree attitude that comes with an arrogant belief there’ll be another chance just as good along in a minute so it doesn’t really matter. Canos, bar the clever backheel that got Jensen in on goal, vanished to such an extent the next time you see his face it’ll be on a milk carton. A truant from Hammersmith Slimming World waddled on in a Bryan Mbeumo shirt and contributed about as much as you’d expect, volleying one presentable late chance so high over the bar referee Ward wrongly assumed it must have been deflected there. Toney spent vast, vast, vast swathes of the second half lying down on the floor, using what precious little time he spent on his feet to commit silly, pressure-relieving fouls, and abusing the referee, for which he was eventually, belatedly, yellow carded. Where’s the algorithm for ‘going got tough’?

First Rob Dickie, and then Geoff Cameron, ceded cynical, tactical fouls to disrupt dangerous attacks — Cameron, caught under a long ball, probably somewhere between a yellow and red as Toney threatened to streak clear, angle and cover marginally in Captain America's favour. Johansen read one move so perfectly he was able to cruise around and crunch into a perfectly timed widowmaker on Henry that would have taken the fucking roof off the place had we been there to help it on its way. Dieng was booked for time wasting, then timed an arrival between two Brentford players to defuse a dangerous cross perfectly. There was Preston cramp setting in all over the show. QPR were shithousing. Mummy’s little soldier all grown up. Couldn’t be prouder. And, I say again, you could hear us. Austin especially, loving life. Informing the Brentford bench just how over the game was as a final goal kick soared into the night sky.

QPR: Dieng 7; Dickie 7, Cameron 7, Barbet 7; Kane 6, Ball 5 (Field 56, 7), Johansen 7, Chair 6, Wallace 7 (Kakay 79, 6); Dykes 5 (Willock 65, 7), Austin 6

Subs not used: Lumley, Hämäläinen, Bettache, Kelman, Adomah

Goals: Field 72 (unassisted), Austin 76 (assisted Wallace)

Bookings: Kane 29 (foul), Ball 33 (repetitive fouling), Dickie 57 (foul), Cameron 84 (foul), Dieng 90 (time wasting)

Brentford: Raya 6; Dalsgaard 6 (Rasmussen 83, -), Reid 6, Sorensen 5, Henry 6; Dasilva 6 (Ghoddos 75, 6), Janelt 6 (Forss 83, -), Jensen 7; Fosu-Henry 6 (Mbeumo 58, 5), Toney 7, Canos 7

Subs not used: Pinnock, Daniels, Rasmussen, Bidstrup

Goals: Toney 30 (assisted Jensen)

Bookings: Toney 90 (repetitive fouling)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 8 Some irritations — in both fixtures I’ve marvelled at Ivan Toney’s ability to commit seven, eight, nine fouls a game without even being spoken to — but overall very decent, keeping close control of a difficult game to referee.

Wycombe 1 QPR 1, Saturday December 19, 2020, Championship

One of those single goal defeats came at league leaders Norwich, thanks to an injury time free kick that should never have been awarded on the edge of the penalty area for one of the more egregious dives you’ll ever see on a football field. The referee that day was Gavin Ward, a ten-year veteran of QPR games with a hooped history as long as Idrissa Sylla’s neck. The baby faced official didn’t seem to have much time for the Chairboys here either. Once he’d generously let Akinfenwa off without a yellow card first for smashing Dickie and then for deliberately clattering Dieng to prevent him setting an early counter attack away, most of the 50/50 calls seemed to go Rangers’ way, including a huge shout for a handball penalty five minutes into the second half. Wycombe were increasingly grisly with the official, picking up two bookings for dissent (one of which was credited to Jacobson afterwards but certainly went the way of Knight for my money), which might have played still further into QPR’s hands, were the visitors able to maintain possession for more than one pass and three seconds at a time.

Wycombe: Allsop 6; Grimmer 6, Knight 6, McCarthy 5, Jacobson 6; Freeman 6 (Mehmeti 76, 7); McCleary 6 (Onyedimna 66, 6), Wheeler 7, Horgan 6; Kashket 5 (Ikpeazu 76, 6), Akinfenwa 6

Goals: Mehmeti 87 (assisted Jacobson)

Bookings: Knight 51 (dissent), Allsop 86 (dissent)

QPR: Dieng 6; Kane 5, Dickie 7, Barbet 6, Hämäläinen 6; Cameron 6, Ball 6; Osayi-Samuel 5, Carroll 6 (Willock 77, 5), Chair 6 (Bonne 81, 4); Dykes 5

Subs not used: Adomah, Masterson, Bettache, Thomas, Kelly, Kelman, De Silva

Goals: McCarthy 28 (own goal, assisted Chair)

Bookings: Hämäläinen 90+2 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 6 I’m sure if I was a Wycombe fan I’d be ranting and raving about the penalty (which I haven’t seen back, but Ainsworth seems to think is a stone-waller), and a referee who did seem to give every 50/50 decision to QPR, so I’m not going to mark him too highly. That said, if you are going to charge around smashing people, you are probably going to get a lot of free kicks given against you, and another part of Wycombe’s style seems to be to appeal noisily for absolutely everything as if it’s all the worst decision they’ve ever seen before in the world, so it’s difficult to really tell what the referee is getting right and wrong as every single decision sparks an enormous, emotional, angry fall out. There were a couple — Akinfenwa on Dickie and Wheeler on Ball — early in the first half that were solid yellow cards, allowed to go under the unwritten “it’s a bit early yet” rule. Quite a difficult game to referee I think.

Derby 0 QPR 1, Wednesday November 4, 2020, Championship

We gently, lovingly, mock Warbs Warburton for various things, not least his tendency to focus on a missed half chance to score in a game where we’ve conceded three shambolic goals ourselves and the defence has done everything but set the team bus alight. But this was exactly what he bangs on about - the quintessential Mark Warburton’s QPR half of football. We’d been the better team, with more of the ball, the majority of the chances, all of the ideas, and a superior passing game… and hadn’t scored. What usually happens here, we’re all well aware of, and when Rooney drew a boot back from 25 yards and struck the outside of the post at the start of the second you feared the Sky commentary team may wank itself into a state of dangerous dehydration. Referee Gavin Ward awarded a corner, for reasons known only to himself.

Even when they have played well under Cocu, it’s been a slow, ponderous, granular watch, and now they’re not it just looks like they’re deliberately waiting and allowing the opposition to get back in their shape before launching an attack because they enjoy the challenge. Repeated theatrical falls to ground by Jozwiak - including an obvious dive in the penalty area - and Knight counted as an offensive tactic. Bonne would match him dive for dive later in the game to be fair, referee Gavin Ward did well to be conned by neither and probably should have carded both. The night drifted by with the hosts trying to get at Hämäläinen first with Jozwiak’s pace, then with Waghorn’s physicality, both to no avail. Hämäläinen, from a typically nervous and timid start, grew quickly in confidence and had a great second half. Waghorn, Rooney, Jozwiak and Kazim-Richards all had a go down the middle at various points — none troubled Yoann Barbet, or particularly Rob Dickie who was superb. Lawrence’s run to create the Kazim-Richards chance was the first positive thing he’d contributed to the game, and proved to be the last. This myth of a player, bought at considerable expense, kept on through his drunken rampage and court case a year ago, happy to blame a bereavement for a potentially lethal drunk driving episode, still stealing a living with one good performance and an occasional eye-catching goal in amongst weeks and weeks and weeks of phoned in, anonymous, half-arsed, half-hearted rubbish. Get him on one of his good days and you've had it, but if Adomah hadn’t humiliated him so comprehensively in the first half here I’m not sure I’d have clocked he was even playing at all. Rooney, bless him, chugging painfully from one deep, neutral, unthreatening position to the next. When he actually got as far as the penalty area, he drew a save and hit the post, two of Derby’s three best efforts, but he spent much of his time in the centre circle, and at one stage I thought we’d accidentally stumbled into a UKTV Gold repeat of that Vicar of Dibley episode where Dawn French eats four Christmas dinners.

Derby: Marshall 7; Byrne 5, Davies 5, Clarke 6, Forsyth 5; Knight 5 (Holmes 72, 5), Shinnie 5; Lawrence 4, Rooney 5 (Sibley 81, -), Jozwiak 6; Waghorn 5 (Kazim-Richards 72, 5)

Subs not used: Wisdom, te Wierik, Bird, Roos

Bookings: Kazim-Richards 90+4 (dissent)

QPR: Dieng 7; Kane 7, Dickie 8, Barbet 7, Hämäläinen 7; Cameron 6, Carroll 7; Adomah 7 (Ball 59, 7), Chair 7, Osayi-Samuel 7 (Willock 65, 7); Dykes 6 (Bonne 59, 7)

Subs not used: Masterson, Kakay, Bettache, Kelly

Goals: Bonne 87 (assisted Dickie)

Referee - Gavin Ward (Surrey) 7 Went through a little contrary period in the second half, awarding free kicks for some ridiculously soft stuff while waving proper fouls away, not booking Byrne when Osayi-Samuel had skinned him and been pulled back, nor Kane when Jozwiak did likewise. But overall he gave the game every chance, stayed out of the way, and got the two big decisions - penalty appeals by Jozwiak and Bonne off obvious dives - correct.

QPR 1 Fulham 2, Tuesday June 30, 2020, Championship

This frantic pattern continued. Lovely feet from Osayi-Samuel — stand up Bright, everybody look at Bright — got Eze into good space but he was too busy trying to circle back around onto his right foot rather than take on the shot with his left. Straight down to the other end, only Kane’s desperate and brilliant last second intervention stopped Cavaleiro finishing off fine work by Knockaert. Less impressive was the French winger’s horrible hack at Osayi-Samuel with two feet at the midway point of the half. Tactical fouls are part of the game — Cairney, Christie and Hugill had all been booked for exactly that already by referee Gavin Ward — but this was more than just a cynical trip to stop a player running away into a dangerous area, this was a needlessly aggressive, two footed lunge that later saw Bright limp from the field to a position of doubt for Middlesbrough on Sunday. It was a very thick yellow card indeed, had he actually been sent off there couldn’t have been many complaints.

QPR: Kelly 3; Kakay 7, Cameron 6, Barbet 5; Kane 6 (Shodipo 80, -), Amos 5, Ball 5 (Chair 89, -), Eze 6, Manning 6; Osayi-Samuel 7 (Oteh 80, -), Hugill 7

Subs not used: Lumley, Rangel, Masterson, Bettache, Gubbins, Clarke

Goals: Hugill 1 (assisted Manning)

Bookings: Manning 23 (foul), Hugill 45+2 (foul)

Fulham: Rodak 6; Christie 7, Hector 7, Ream 6, Odoi 6; Cairney 7 (McDonald 90+3, -), Reed 6, Arter 6 (Onomah 70, 6); Cavaleiro 7 (Sessegnon 90+3, -), Reid 6 (Marchand 79, -), Knockaert 6 (Bryan 70, 6)

Subs not used: Bettinelli, Johansen, De La Torre, Jasper

Goals: Arter 21 (unassisted, Christie 75 (unassisted)

Bookings: Christie 32 (foul), Cairney 53 (foul), Knockaert 64 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Hampshire) 7 Not an easy game to referee, very competitive with plenty of challenges flying in, played at a decent pace and tempo — all in stark contrast to the dross we’ve mostly been served up by summer lockdown football. He was generous on several occasions with Harrison Reed who took no prisoners, and Knockaert’s horrible challenge on Osayi-Samuel was one of those that lands somewhere between a yellow and a red, but overall he was very decent with all cards and major decisions correct.

QPR 1 Hull City 2, Sunday December 29, 2019, Championship

By then Hull had realised this was all there for them. They slung Tom Eaves on after 66 minutes and he almost scored immediately with his first touch — a header down from a right wing cross that Lumley scrambled wide of the bottom corner. Having fartarsed about with one of the weakest opponents we’ve faced at Loftus Road this season in the first hour, QPR now suddenly found themselves in a proper game with the visitors stirred into life and chasing the win. Rangers like a lazy teenager who’d half heartedly revised, now plunged into an A Level physics exam. De Wijs was booked for a bad foul and some afters on Wells, Honeyman likewise for hacking down Eze who’d almost completely disappeared from the game in the final half hour. The Tigers meant business now, looking far better with Bowen playing off a main striker, and although QPR might have thought they’d got away with it when Eaves volleyed yards wide three minutes from time they were miles off the pace by this stage and there for the taking.

QPR: Lumley 3; Rangel 7, Hall 6, Leistner 6, Manning 6; Amos 6 (Smith 66, 5), Ball 6; Osayi-Samuel 7, Chair 7 (Hugill 79, 4), Eze 6; Wells 5

Subs not used: Kane, Wallace, Pugh, Kelly

Goals: Chair 20 (assisted Manning)

Hull: Long 6; Lichaj 6, Burke 6, De Wijs 7, Kingsley 4 (Pennington 37, 6); Honeyman 6 (Batty 77, 6), Lopes 6; Bowler 6, Irvine 6, Grosicki 6 (Eaves 66, 7); Bowen 5

Subs not used: Tafazolli, Ingram, Bonds, Berry

Goals: Honeyman 32 (assisted Bowler), Irvine 89 (assisted Bowen)

Bookings: De Wijs 64 (foul), Honeyman 75 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 6 Not too bad, although the now weekly complaint about lousy time keeping applies again. A first half of two goals, a substitution, two big injuries and Reece Burke’s long, slow, drawn-out treatment and walk off the pitch for nothing very much brought only three added minutes, which felt like a bit of a joke. Quite generous on several occasions with Rangel.

QPR 0 Stoke 0, Saturday April 9, 2019, Championship

The first was a red card. This happened after only eight minutes and was handed out to Stoke’s midfielder Sam Clucas who, having been very fairly and very well tackled by Josh Scowen, decided to stamp on the QPR player’s shin five yards away from referee Gavin Ward. It was an action of such blatant, mindless stupidity one could only surmise that he’d wanted to use his trip to the capital for a posh dinner, left it too late to book a table, then taken the one by the bogs they had available at 5pm anyway. They’re about Gavin Ward’s level those sorts of decisions, and he couldn’t get the red card out quickly enough.

Incident three came four minutes from time when QPR decided that having abjectly failed to execute anything like a game plan while playing 11v10, it was the Christian thing to do to let Stoke have a bang on 10v10 for the closing stages. This wasn’t so much Gavin Ward wanting to even things up as QPR apparently trying to do exactly that. With Clucas off and the advantage firmly with them, Hemed had already kicked off one skirmish on the Ellerslie Road touchline before Pawel Wszolek started pushing James McClean in the throat and giving Ward a decision to make. What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Doing? Why are you doing this? Why? Ward let them both off but couldn’t turn a blind eye to two wild challenges from Grant Hall, first after a poor header from Toni Leistner and then latterly on Tom Ince on the edge of the area. QPR’s first red card of the season in the league, a midweek return for Joel Lynch, this truly was the day that kept on giving and honestly, honestly, there was a tiny part of me that actually hoped Ince stuck the resulting free kick in the top corner because it would have been exactly what Stoke, and QPR, deserved. He didn’t. It was shit. It was that sort of day.

QPR: Lumley 6; Cousins 6, Leistner 5, Hall 5, Bidwell 5; Wszolek 5 (Osayi-Samuel 46, 6), Scowen 4 (Shodipo 73, 5), Luongo 5, Freeman 6, Wells 5 (Furlong 89, -), Hemed 4

Subs not used: Ingram, Eze, Manning, Lynch

Red Cards: Hall 87 (two bookings, see below)

Bookings: Wszolek 45+1 (being a moron), Hall 60 (foul), Hall 87 (foul)

Stoke: Butland 6; Edwards 6, Shawcross 8, Batth 6, Martins Indi 6; Allen 8, Adam 8 (Williams 72, 7), Clucas 2; Ince 5, Afobe 5 (Diouf 85, -), McClean 5

Subs not used: Bauer, Fletcher, Bojan, Federici, Woods

Red Cards: Clucas 8 (being a moron)

Bookings: Allen 31 (foul), McClean 45+1 (being James McClean)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 7 I actually felt sorry for him. Asked to officiate this catastrophic, bastard of a football match he was presented with two of the most blatant red cards you’ll ever see sandwiching 70 minutes of Ryan Shawcross following him around trying to make out like he owed Stoke an ‘evener’ for daring to send Clucas off for stamping on somebody’s shin. He did very well, with absolutely nothing to work with, and deserves a week off somewhere sunny.

Portsmouth 1 QPR 1, Saturday January 27, 2019, FA Cup fourth round

The momentum had fully shifted and shortly after restarting play Curtis felt the full force of a rat-boy Josh Scowen special. His reaction to a petty kick out sparked a 22-man brawl which referee Gavin Ward failed to control or really establish what had happened. From the stands it seemed like the Irish winger had kicked out at Scowen which in turn angered the Rangers bench along with Furlong and Lynch. An attempt to save face saw him crumble in a heap as Lynch seemed intent on taking his hatred of the FA Cup/football/life out on one of the home side's men.

Of course a red card here would have been massive for QPR, the game in the position it was, but Ward decided take the easy option to book everyone he could see including members of the coaching teams.

Portsmouth: MacGillivray 5, Walkes 6, Whatmough 6, Clarke 7, Brown 6, Naylor 6, Donohue 6 (Close 80, -), Evans 6, Dennis 7, Curtis 6, Pitman 5

Subs not used: Burgess, Morris, Maloney, May, Bass, Haunstrup.

Goals: Lynch og 63 (assisted Brown)

Booked: Whatmough, Brown 77 (fighting), Curtis 77 (fighting)

QPR: Lumley 5; Furlong 5, Leistner 5, Lynch 5, Bidwell 5; Manning 4, Scowen 6; Freeman 7, Oteh 6 (Samuel 65, 6), Wszolek 5 (Smith 71, 6); Wells 6 (Chair 90, -)

Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Kakay

Booked: Manning 45 (dissent), Lynch 77 (dissent)

Goals: Wells 74 (assisted Freeman)

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey) 4 Made some of the most bizarre decisions which weren't overly influential on the game. Booked Manning for passing the ball back towards a Portsmouth player yet let Clarke off for hammering the ball away on the whistle. Told Oteh to get up after being sandwiched by a number of defenders yet penalized Scowen and Manning for the same challenge less than 30 seconds later. Missed a late over-the-ball tackle on Scowen’s ankle towards the end of the game, failing to even award a free kick.

Forest 0 QPR 1, Saturday December 22, 2018, Championship

The result was an isolated Lewis Grabban getting a right bastarding at the hands of Toni Leistner, and succession of hopeful/hopeless balls threaded straight through to Joe Lumley. At the base of the midfield, Josh Scowen The Goblin Boy was back to his ratting best, and Mass Luongo continued his return to form. Guediora dragged wide from range on the quarter hour and Joe Lolley was off target from similarly hopeful range a while later. They were being stifled and frustrated and when Carvalho overran an attempt to do it all himself before halftime and launched into a fool’s mission to retrieve the situation from Scowen’s claws, a yellow card was the only outcome from referee Gavin Ward.
I expected a veritable hurricane of piss to come our way in the closing stages, particularly when Ward added six minutes onto the end of the game. Gut wrenching, heart breaking, arse clenching, soul destroying — but entirely correct. QPR had been running the clock throughout the second half and deserved to be made to suffer at least a further six minutes. Just our luck though that having banged on about this all season the first time a referee does actually add sufficient time on it’s here, now, in these circumstances.

Forest: Pantilimon 6; Darikwa 6, Figueiredo 6 (Hefele 75, 6), Robinson 5, Janko 6; Colback 6, Guédioura 7; Lolley 5 (Ansarifard 55, 6), Carvalho 6, Osborn 5 (Murphy 55, 5); Grabban 5

Subs not used: Cash, Steele, Yacob, Dias

Bookings: Carvalho 43 (foul), Ansarifardat 55 (foul), Robinson 78 (foul)

QPR: Lumley 7; Cousins 7, Furlong 7, Leistner 8, Bidwell 7; Scowen 7, Luongo 7; Wszolek 8, Eze 6 (Hall 88, -), Freeman 7; Wells 6 (Smith 86, -)

Subs not used: Ingram, Oteh, Chair, Osayi-Samuel, Kakay

Goals: Leistner 45 (assisted Freeman)

Bookings: Luongo 65 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 7 Something else QPR have negative history with that went surprisingly well on Saturday. Rangers couldn’t argue with the hefty amount of stoppage time at the end given the time wasting that had been going on. The bookings he did give were justified but Forest perhaps had cause to feel aggrieved that both Luongo (before he was booked) and particularly Scowen escaped cards for tackles that looked at least a yellow to me from an admittedly bad vantage point. Decent though.

QPR 2 Peterborough 0, Tuesday August 14, 2018, League Cup

Remarkably, Peterborough stuck with it through to half time as well, Evans seemingly too busy sarcastically applauding everything referee Gavin Ward did and said to correct a clear and obvious deficiency in his team. Among the nonsense that took place as a result was Jake Bidwell being allowed to run nearly the full length of the pitch unchallenged before teeing up Wszolek for a blocked shot. Inspired, Leistner decided to do likewise, bundling/bumbling/rampaging his way right down the middle of the pitch looking like a man panicked by suddenly not being able to find his car. Sadly, he turned down a loud invitation from the crowd to finish it off with a shot.

QPR: Lumley 6; Kakay 7, Leistner 7, Baptiste 6, Bidwell 6; Scowen 8, Cousins 6; Osayi-Samuel 5 (Eze 67, 6), Freeman 6 (Manning 77, 6), Wszolek 7; Washington 6 (Smith 83, -)

Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Smyth, Sylla

Goals: Freeman 2 (assisted Washington), Wszolek 5 (assisted Washington)

Peterborough: Chapman 5; Naismith 6, Bennett 6, Tafazolli 6, Denton 6; Ward 6 (Cooper 73, 6), Woodyard 6, O’Hara 6, Cooke 5 (Cummings 46, 5); Dembele 7, Toney 4 (Godden 78, 6)

Subs not used: Buckley-Ricketts, Reed, Yorwerth, O’Malley

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 8 Bit of a problem child for QPR in the dim and distant past but absolutely fine here, despite Evans’ constant commentary to the contrary.

Yeovil 0 QPR 1, Saturday September 21, 2013, Championship

The Glovers had already long since lost patience with referee Gavin Ward who, in a total departure from his previous form, spent the afternoon giving every 50/50 decision in favour of Queens Park Rangers even before the penalty kick that decided the game 15 minutes from time. At one point towards the end of the game he booked Ed Upson for taking his own free kick too quickly — always a sign of a referee without a feel for the game and with a troubled childhood on his CV — and not for the first time this season Town manager Gary Johnson was left to curse an official for deciding the game.

Austin, typically bullish and forthright when pursuing a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area, appeared to tug back Dan Seaborne as he rounded him and seized possession before hitting the deck when the Yeovil man responded in kind. From my view some 15 yards away, looking right at the incident, I felt Ward called it right and the penalty was a correct decision but it’s almost certain that had Seaborne been as willing to hit the deck as Austin was under the initial contact Ward probably would have awarded a free kick the other way.

Credit to Austin though for a work rate Alan Partridge might have compared to that of a ‘Japanese prisoner of war’ which was duly rewarded not only with the award of the penalty, but a goal as well when he calmly sent Hennessey the wrong way and scored from the spot. It’s been a difficult start to life at QPR for the former Swindon man, with the missed sitters stacking up and service of Parisian restaurant standard coming his way, but he has three goals to his name already from ten appearances this season and thoroughly deserved this latest strike. It was QPR’s only shot on target in the entire match.

Yeovil: Hennessey 6; Ayling 6, Fontaine 6 (Dawson 37, 6), Seaborne 5, McAllister 6; Edwards 6, Upson 7, Ralls 7, Davis 7; Grant 7 (Hayter 79, 6), Williams 6 (Ngoo 79, 7)

Subs not used: Dunn, Ofori-Twumasi, Foley, Hoskins

Bookings: Ralls 29 (foul), Upson 86 (taking a free kick while Gavin Ward was still dusting the sand out of his lady parts)

QPR: Green 8, Simpson 6, Dunne 7, Hill 7, Assou-Ekotto 6; Carroll 5, Jenas 5; Phillips 6, O’Neil 6, Traore 6; Austin 8

Subs not used: Murphy, Ehmer, Henry, Faurlin

Goals: Austin 75 (penalty, won Austin)

Bookings: Austin 32 (foul)

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 7 The big decision of the game — the penalty — was correct, although I’ve no doubt that had Seaborne gone to ground himself under the initial contact from Austin it would have been given the other way. Yeovil seemed increasingly angry at his handling of the game, and I thought he was generous with QPR a few times, but fine overall. A sign that he might be maturing into a better official than the one who made a pig’s ear of our trips to Reading and Portsmouth back in 2010, was the fact he didn’t send off Charlie Austin for his first half challenge when he once might have done. But then he booked Ed Upson for taking his own free kick too quickly and all referees who do that should be punished with laps of the pitch after the match.

Portsmouth 1 QPR 1, Tuesday November 9, 2010, Championship

The end to end nature of the game continued from this incident with Adel Taarabt immediately trying his luck from the edge of the area and claiming handball when Portsmouth skipper Mokoena appeared to block his shot with an arm. This was the start of a farcical night of penalty incidents both given and not, and this was the first of three appeals by QPR that looked more like a penalty than the one they were eventually given.

Having waved those appeals away referee Gavin Ward started to have more of an influence on the game. He bought a very obvious dive from Utaka to award Portsmouth a free kick on the edge of the box five minutes before half time which Liam Lawrence then curled several yards over the bar. Then after waving play on through a tangle of Derry and Brown in midfield, where Derry actually seemed to be more sinned against than sinner himself, he returned to show a yellow card to the QPR man once the attack had come to a halt but only did so after Michael Brown came across, screaming in his face about the incident — prior to that he’d shown no inclination to even go and talk to Derry, never mind show him a yellow card. For the second time in as many games I think our midfielder was hard done to. He now has four yellow cards for the season, one away from a one game ban with the home match against Cardiff looming.

His opposite number Paddy Kenny was more than equal to a weak header from Lawrence at the back post midway through the second half as Utaka’s influence on the game started to wane. Lawrence also saw yellow around this time, which would become crucial later, when Kyle Walker kicked through onto a boot that he left in when attempting to block a clearance down the line. Walker made a real meal of it, riving on the turf in mock agony, and a yellow card was probably about right.

Then, the first penalty incident. It actually came during QPR’s best period of attacking pressure in the half and just seconds after Adel Taarabt had brilliantly tricked his way into the area and then delivered a disappointing cross into Ashdown at the near post. The ball was launched away down field and after badly misjudging it in the first instance, Matt Connolly then made a real mess of trying to recover the situation and although he got back to Kitson who had run in behind him he could only trip the lanky striker over for an obvious penalty and red card. No complaints to this point, Connolly misses the Nottingham Forest game on Saturday with a one match ban.

Then the farce began. Liam Lawrence took the penalty, and placed a weak side footed effort to Paddy Kenny’s left. The goalkeeper, as he did at Swansea a couple of weeks back, flung himself across and saved the ball well with two hands — pushing it away for a corner and receiving the adulation of his team mates. But it soon became clear that all was not what it should be. The linesman had remained in position on the byline and referee Ward was busy signalling that another penalty would have to be taken.

Now I’ll trot out the usual refereeing disclaimer at this point — they only get one look at it, and it’s all very well freezing the frames on television and proving them wrong but they get no replays to look at and can only give what they see. But in this case the linesman and referee hadn’t given what they’d seen. They’d given something that simply didn’t exist, something that didn’t happen. Paddy Kenny had both feet on the goal line right up until the moment the ball was kicked and he pulled off a fine save fair and square. Pathetic, abject, incomprehensible, corrupt, ridiculous, ludicrous — it was all of these things and more.

The second penalty was much more the sort of thing that you expect from Lawrence — struck hard, with the laces, and past Kenny before he’d had chance to move. Which is probably just as well because if he had had chance to move and dared to save it again we probably would have had to go through the farce of having the bloody thing retaken for a third time and as Mr Ward had allowed the game to start five minutes late those of us on the 10.04pm train with a three minute change at Eastleigh were starting to get a bit twitchy. In fact in the interests of getting the game finished before daybreak the referee may have been as well asking Kenny to stand aside and just allow Lawrence a chance to roll the ball into an empty net, seeing as it now seems the goalkeeper isn’t allowed to get involved in these things. And if you’ve got a moment to spare, watch the replay and count the Portsmouth bodies in the area as Lawrence ’s second attempt hits the net.

Mr Ward isn’t so good at spotting things like that, but he is very good at ordering players away from an incompetent linesman it must be said — straight over there with all the hand actions and whistle blowing to prevent anybody confronting the useless prick.

From that point on the officiating of the game became a complete nonsense. Within minutes Portsmouth were awarded a free kick on the halfway line, a routine decision, which they took quickly and inadvertently kicked straight to Kyle Walker. A whistle was blown and the free kick had to be taken again. Again, in the interests of making the 10.04pm from Fratton, I wondered if it would have been better at this stage for Mr Ward to simply sling a blue shirt on and start taking the Portsmouth set pieces himself if he was so concerned about the quality of them.

After the goal QPR made a couple of odd substitutions. Warnock replaced Taarabt with Borrowdale, who went to left back with Clint Hill at centre half. This despite Hill gesturing wildly to the touchline that either he couldn’t carry on, or that they were doing the wrong thing, or both. Rob Hulse also made way for Patrick Agyemang and then, later, Leon Clarke came on for Shaun Derry who had a yellow card to his name and a lunatic running round refereeing the game.

It’s worth at this point, in my opinion anyway, pointing out rule 12 of Association Football relating to handball. Mr Ward clearly doesn’t know it, and that became a bit off an issue in the final 20 minutes of the game. The rule states that a direct free kick (or penalty) shall be awarded if a player, other than the goalkeeper in his own area, deliberately handles the ball. Now did Rob Hulse deliberately handle the ball when he received it with his back to goal and it bounced up and hit his hand that was hanging loosely by his side? No, but a free kick was given anyway. Did Hayden Mullins handle the ball in the penalty area when he thrust his arm up into the air and palmed it away from Shaun Derry’s head? Yes, but a free kick was given the other way for a push. Did Liam Lawrence deliberately handle the ball in his area in stoppage time? Almost certainly not. Even if it did hit him on the arm, which I don’t think it did, it came at him from a matter of yards away at pace. That decision though was a culmination of 20 minutes of nonsense decisions from the officials which had fans from both sides sarcastically appealing for handball free kicks whenever anybody touched the ball. Mr Ward was losing control.

As well as the Mokoena handball appeal in the first half, and the Mullins one in the second, Rangers had a third very decent shout for a penalty when Kaspars Gorkss, up from the back for a free kick, clearly seemed to be elbowed by a Portsmouth player but predictably play on was waved.

Right at the end of normal time Tommy Smith went to cross the ball from the deadball line, it was blocked away by Lawrence and for the seven thousandth time in the second half everybody appealed for handball. It wasn’t, it hit Lawrence in his rib cage, but laughably referee and linesman awarded a spot kick anyway.

Lawrence was livid, confronting both officials with a look of rage on his face. By the time his dissent earned him a second yellow card and subsequent red he had torn the shirt from his back to show the telltale football print on his chest. With the shirt hanging loosely around his neck like some sort of sash and his peroxide blonde hair he looked like some crazed Miss Arizona, protesting at being stripped of her title.

In the end she trooped off to join Matt Connolly in the early bath water. Had the game run for another ten minutes I’m convinced they would have been joined by another player or two such was the lack of grip Mr Ward had on the game by this stage.

With Buzsaky spending time with his surgeon again (he sees him more than he does Mrs Buzsaky) Taarabt and Hulse already removed and Heidar Helguson still recovering from a steroid injection into the side of his head penalty takers were thin on the ground. Step forward Tommy Smith who, after another lengthy delay while Mr Ward ensured that everybody was placed just so and the nasty goalkeeper wasn’t going to make any attempts to try and save it, calmly banged the ball into the bottom corner for a very satisfying equaliser.

Now it is not LoftforWords’ style to just slag off referees. On only three occasions in 17 matches this season has a match report ended in a mark of less than five out of ten for an official, because it’s too easy to blame the referee all the time and there’s nothing more annoying and boring than turning on one radio phone in after another to some Chelsea fan or other who didn’t go to the game but listened to the second half while he was painting his kitchen ceiling starting his call with: “I know we don’t like to criticise referees, but that bloke today…”

But what exactly should I do in this situation? Or indeed the situation I found myself in ten days ago after spending the thick end of £100 going to watch QPR v Burnley only for the referee to blow his whistle and interrupt the play every minute and 45 seconds? Should I just pat them on the head and trot out Graham Poll’s favourite mantra about it not being the referees who make a bad pass, or commit a foul, or make the wrong substitution, or dive? Should I focus instead on Matthew Connolly, who misjudged the original ball and then fouled Dave Kitson in the area allowing the penalty farce to occur in the first place? Or Steve Cotterill who, despite having an in form team leading 1-0 against ten men, inexplicably chose to try and sit back and soak up pressure for the final 20 minutes culminating in the nonsense decision that robbed him of two points?

Those points are certainly worthy of mention and analysis, but they do not in any way excuse the three match officials for their handling of this fixture. Allow me to quote our referee Gavin Ward, from his Ref World profile, on what makes a good referee: “Remaining calm in all situations with positive body language, man management and self confidence helps to control matches, as players pick up on this. Having the ability to listen to advice offered from more senior colleagues, this will help develop you as referee. Most importantly is to enjoy what you do.”

I find this quote amusing and disturbing in equal measure. Stop me if I go wrong at any point but is the most important part of refereeing not getting as many decisions right as possible? You can have all the positive body language and calmness and self confidence in the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good referee. The most important part of being a referee is getting the big decisions right and Gavin Ward has persistently shown a chronic inability to do this. Admittedly on Tuesday he was guided by a couple of linesman who may as well have shoved their flags up their arses for all the use they were getting out of the bloody things but it is the referee’s responsibility to get the big calls right and on Tuesday at Portsmouth, and last season at Reading, whenever a big decision has had to be made Mr Ward has consistently got it wrong. And for all his talk of remaining calm and adopting a positive body language he always retreats to his book and starts handing out cards once he’s lost control.

Portsmouth : Ashdown 7, Halford 6 (Ward 26, 6), Mokoena 6, Sonko 7, Dickinson 6, Lawrence 7, Mullins 6, Brown 6, Utaka 8 (Ciftci 86, -), Kitson 6, Kanu 5 (Hreidarsson 90, -)

Subs Not Used: Flahavan, Hughes, Rocha

Sent Off: Lawrence (two bookings)

Booked: Lawrence (foul), Ashdown (time wasting), Lawrence (dissent)Goals: Lawrence 71 (penalty won Kitson)

QPR: Kenny 7, Walker 6, Connolly 6, Gorkss 7, Hill 6, Derry 6 (Clarke 80, -),Faurlin 6, Taarabt 6 (Borrowdale 72, 6), Mackie 7, Smith 7, Hulse 6 (Agyemang 72, 5)

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Rowlands, Ephraim, Andrade

Sent Off: Connolly (professional foul)

Booked: Derry (dissent)

Goals: Smith 90 (penalty won Smith)

Referee: Gavin Ward ( Surrey ) 3 What is there left to say? Last season, when Mr Ward turned our game at Reading into almost as big a farce as this one, Neil Warnock said he didn’t feel the referee was ready for games of that magnitude. And presumably somebody somewhere agreed with him because since then he has only refereed three Championship matches and they have been what I would call low profile fixtures with small away followings, little ill feeling between the clubs and not as much pressure as there would be in a Reading v QPR or Portsmouth v QPR fixture. By that token presumably somebody somewhere then though that having done a few months in front of low crowds and in lower divisions Mr Ward, and his two linesman, were ready to step back up and take charge of a big game between two in form and notoriously physical sides at an atmospheric and hostile stadium. Whoever made that decision should be taken aside today and beaten by somebody with board with a nail in it.

Reading 1 QPR 0, Tuesday March 16, 2010, Championship

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 recently touched 100 yellow cards in his 26 games so far, with two reds. This is led by seven yellows and one red at Plymouth’s 3-2 home victory against Rotherham, and eight yellows at Bristol Rovers 2-1 home defeat by Blackpool in the division below. His only Preston appointment in 23/24 so far was a 2-1 victory against Plymouth at Deepdale in September.

Last season he finished up with 128 yellows and two reds in 35 games. Eight at Portsmouth 3 Bristol Rovers 1 was the leading total. In 2021/22 he finished with 152 yellows and four reds in 37 games, once again topped out by nine in a Bristol Rovers fixture — this time a 0-0 with Forest Green — so he clearly thinks as highly of St Joey as we do.

QPR are 6-5-8 from 19 fixtures with this referee. Last season he had Preston for a 2-1 home win against Middlesbrough and 0-0 away draw at Watford. PNE are 5-3-9 from 17 games.

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