A game of one half, a big phantom and silence is golden

Vauxhall Motors 3 - 1 Maghull

Saturday 27th September 2014  kick off 3pm

A lovely sunny day, a minutes silence for the passing of the wife of Vauxhall Motors FC chairman and a Liverpool County FA official during the week and the day was set for a fine game of football, on a great surface and fine surroundings.

Then the clouds appeared !!

A game of football took place, if you can call it that, and I am sure Vauxhall Motors will say they deserved the points, which they did. So we shall try to focus on that.

The hosts came out all guns blazing and had Maghull on the back foot from the off. So much so, that Maghulls first visit into Vauxhall territory came after six minutes. But it was a big impact.

Ryan Stamper won a challenge on the right side, the loose ball was picked up by Daniel Duffy. He controlled it and then hit a defence splitting pass down the middle that Drew Murphy chased onto. Murphy held off his opponent and struck the ball home and an unlikely lead was Maghulls. But the joy was short lived.

Within minutes Vauxhalls had parity. A shocker of a clearance down the left, was played, first time, into Maghulls box and the number 10 hit it home. Then madness descended.

A daft challenge on the left, was left unpunished and play waved on...20-30 seconds later a Vauxhalls player put a ball through to his winger, Robert Nadine was a split second late, didn't catch the player, but he leaped out of the way, as any sane player would do. Vauxhalls had the chance of a good break, but the game was called back to give them a free kick and to book Nadine. I would say harshly and a talking too would have been sufficient. Unfortunately, Nadine had not calmed down enough and within five minutes he was seeing red for kicking the ball away after another challenge was deemed to go against Maghull. A schoolboy error, but brought about by frustration at decisions by the officials.

There is a saying you hear week after week by supporters and players, "that's the worst decision I have ever seen" It makes you wonder how timid the first one they ever said that about, actually was. But the next decision that had to be made, DEFINITELY makes my list of top ten cataclysmic cock ups by officials.

Duffy had broken down the right and pulled a low cross back towards the penalty spot, right into the path of the incoming Mikey Cummins. With the goal at his mercy, he was clattered to the ground from behind. Penalty and a red card as Cummins only had the keeper to beat, having eluded the flat footed defenders. The referee pointed to the spot, a Vauxhall supporter, in the terrace behind me, berated the defence for being slow and giving a penalty away. Then suddenly, amongst the appeals for a red card to be administered, the referee changed his mind. The linesman, who was at least 10 yards behind play (the referee was also playing catch up, just outside the centre circle when he pointed to the spot) claimed he saw the offence outside the penalty area. A free kick was given and not even a yellow card was shown. Phil Thompson would have loved these officials and John O'Hare may not have got him to bring the game into disrepute. I have had it confirmed after the game, by many sources, that the infringement took place by the penalty spot. It is not sour grapes, just pointing out what happened.

You may say that it was unprofessional of the side to fall foul of the decisions going against them, but the penalty could and should have given them the lead. And something to hold onto with ten men. It was a game changing decision and in the aftermath,something had occurred between the referee and captain Danny Dillon, that had really rattled him and there was no calming him down.

Much to the point that I am convinced that his mind was still on whatever was said between him and the referee, when he was played a simple ball five yards outside the box. He was caught unawares by the Vauxhalls number 10 who seemed to be an invisible man as he strolled through two further challenges as if they were not there and crashed it home to give Vauxhalls an unlikely lead just before the break. When the side looking more likely to go ahead had been Maghull.

A new position, on the other side of the pitch, was taken up to watch an antagonistic second half, with only another goal for the Number 10 ghost (who headed home unmarked from a corner) and some immensely strange decisions taking place. A head injury suffered by Chris Swords was ignored, while play was stopped so the tormentor in chief could receive treatment for what amounted to an ouchy posterior after falling over (or something similarly fickle) when no foul had taken place. He was just laid on the floor.

Maghull had possession and had to settle for a drop ball and the ball was kicked out for a throw in towards Maghulls corner flag. Now forgive me for being pedantic, but didn't something similar happen earlier in the season that resulted in the referee admitting an error and Stephen King being sent off ? This referee commented, well done. I did hear that.

Vauxhalls took the sting out of the game, Maghull struggled to get any momentum and the feeling was that this game was never going to be anything other than a loss. Summed up by a ball played against a Vauxhall player and out for a throw in to Maghull. The referee, who was a mere two yards away, gave the throw in to the hosts. We did laugh !! The linesman (not the same one who denied the penalty) claimed he did not see it (which is exactly what the linesman on the other side had said in the first half, when giving a throw in decision against Maghull) but his day was topped off by telling us, he did not know how long was left on the clock, as he forgot to start his watch at the beginning of the half !!!

A game (if that is what it was) to forget. Quickly.

Next game : Helsby home Saturday 4th October 2014 kick off 3pm league

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