Marriner & Poll, Fifa Law 12 and the officials taking centre stage. AGAIN

Southport Trinity 3 - 1 Maghull

Friday 6th February 2015 kick off 8pm


This season I am beginning to sound like Jose Mourinho. Whining, whinging, moaning etc about officials.

I have proved two officials wrong (and proved another point) this season, now for the hat trick,

For the benefit of the club officials, please let me know if you feel I am doing a disservice to the side by being vociferous in my comments about decisions. But as Jose says, once is a mistake, twice is reckless, three or more is incompetence. Which then makes the mind wander.

A very cold Friday night, saw a game that had a lot of things to talk about. Not all of them of a nice nature. Maghull, looking to build on the five goal haul in their last outing, against a side from the lower reaches of the league. Confidence was pretty high and the hope of a further three points was certainly in the air. Oh how we were fooled.

The first 45 minutes was pretty mundane to be fair.  But still managed to bring to the fore, three huge talking points. Maghull felt they should be awarded a penalty in the first half. The referee confirmed he saw the incident as a player was hauled down, he seemed to play the advantage, the ball broke loose, a shot was heading in between the player on the line and the post. An arm appeared, the ball clattered it, hit the post and out into play where it was cleared. The referee deemed it ball to hand. If the player had not moved his arm, it would not have hit it. That is handball ! So if the advantage was played and no advantage was gained, then the penalty had to be given for the foul. Play continued from the clearance.

Southport claimed a penalty when one of their players went down in the box. It was waived away. It was one of those decisions were one referee will give it, one wont. They were, probably, rightly a bit miffed. Consistency, that old buzzword. If it is a pen, give it, it is not open to conjecture.

The referee confirmed he saw the incident as a player was hauled down, he seemed to play the advantage, the ball broke loose, a shot was heading in between the player on the line and the post. An arm appeared, the ball clattered it, hit the post and out into play where it was cleared. The referee deemed it ball to hand. If the player had not moved his arm, it would not have hit it. That is handball ! So if the advantage was played and no advantage was gained, then the penalty had to be given for the foul. Play continued from the clearance.

Close to the interval, a crunching challenge came in on Mikey Cummins, very close to the touchline. It was a hard tackle and in this day and age, it could be construed as a touch reckless. The player won the ball, but his follow through also caught Cummins. Until the time comes when people can have instant braking systems, the continuous motion of a player in a tackle will always take place. A yellow card was administered and a free kick awarded. But some hullabaloo and pushing took place afterwards.

Sounds an interesting first half really, but it wasn't. 42-43 other minutes took place and it was not exactly hand warming fare. Though Maghull did hold the sway of play and if they had taken the couple of chances they created, should really have gone into the break in the lead.

What happened next would be better suited to question of sport.

Within two minutes the hosts had a penalty. Probably the least likely to be a penalty of the three offences so far. The referee ducked down in his run and his arm was already lurking towards a pointing at the spot as two players went for the ball. They were going to collide, who hit who was the only question to the outcome. The referee felt Liam Vogel was the main culprit and Southport had the opportunity to take the lead. Up stepped the centre back and Lee Carrol was sent the wrong way.

A big response was needed and it came. Within three minutes it was all square as Michael Boyle flashed a drive into the corner. And the annoyance over the penalty had gone. Well not quite. Madness ensued some five minutes later, when a calamity took place.

The ball was on the edge of the Maghull box, a collision took place, the ball broke loose and was cleared for a throw in to Southport. James Steele reacted, rather inappropriately, to something. He lashed out and the Southport players were incensed and also sensed an opportunity to gain a man advantage. The referee spoke to his assistant, who confirmed he saw Steele lash out and it was a red card offence. No arguments ! What came next was not only farcical, but also the cause of the bedlam that then ensued for what seemed to be the rest of the match.

The referee gave Southport a penalty. Now forgive me for being pedantic, but let me read a paragraph (which is available for all to see) from FIFA Lawbook rule 12 page 3 "The following conditions must be met, for an offence to be considered a foul. - it must be committed by a player - it must occur on the field of play - it must occur while the ball is in play. Remove any of these conditions and the offence is not and cannot be a foul" Therefore no penalty can be awarded. May I also refer you to page 70 Law 12 Violent Conduct (which was the offence) "Restart of play : - if the ball is out of play, play is restarted according to the previous decision" which was a throw in. I rest my case your honour !!!

The decision not only incensed the players, but the watching attendees from Maghull. Two more player's were booked for disputing the decision (seeing as we have proof that the players were right, can the yellow cards be rescinded ?) and Southports skipper duly stepped up to send Carroll the wrong way again and restore the hosts lead.

The rest of the game became nothing more than a farce. Southport scored a very well worked clincher, for the points. But we had a serious lack of control in the middle. Vogel made a challenge that gave away a free kick having previously been booked he did not dispute this but when Tom Wharton tried to take the steam out of any possible sending off, the referee booked him for the offence. An Andrew Marriner moment. The least you can do as an official is book the right person for an offence. Taking advantage of the referees slip up, Maghull continued with ten men, until Dillon, having been booked earlier, was asked for his name once more when questioning a decision. Dillon walked off, only to be told to return to the fray when the referee claimed he just wanted to know his name ! He was soon substituted for fear of that second yellow appearing.

Andrew Marriner appeared again a few moments later, when Liam Vogel, using more lives than a cat, had what was at best an innocuous challenge, blown for a free kick. The referee brandished a yellow card, but at Ben Sumner. Mistaken identity again ! Or was this just a mistake ? Or was it reckless ? Michael Boyle left the fray claiming he was about to be sent off and making a remark or two regarding the man in the middle. Who let you go Michael ? Did he say he was sending you off or did you walk, just in expectancy. If he walked, the referee did not do his duty.

The cat finally lost his cream, when in the final seconds, Liam Vogel was penalised for taking a free kick, in error, before the referee blew his whistle. The official then said it was a throw in to Maghull. The second, or was it the fourth yellow card of the game for Vogel gave us a Graham Poll moment and finished the game in another bizarre moment.

Southport had taken the points and on the second half display, probably deservedly. Some decisions had been unfair, to say the least, to Maghull. But now they have to re group and be ready for the next game. Surely with something going their way.

Next game : Upton AA away league Saturday 14th February 2015 kick off 2pm lets leave that game loving the result !!

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