We were all fearful when VAR arrived, that we might lose one element of the game that sustains our emotions and that is controversy. We need not have worried. In fact, if anything, controversy is on the up and up in the higher echelons of English football; where the people who have the time to analyse incidents upstairs, constantly got decisions so badly wrong.
Liverpool scored what we all considered to be a perfectly good goal against Everton, only for it to be ruled out because of something that nobody could see, and now the ball to hand, or hand to ball argument, seems to have no place in the modern game. If the ball hits you on the arm at point-blank range, it is deemed to be a penalty – no argument!
So then, with all that going on in the Prem, down near the basement of English football, we may have been forgiven for thinking that we might avoid all that stupidity, and assume that a good old fashioned referee, without any technological assistance, could be relied upon to make some common-sense decisions. How wrong we were!
They say that lightning does not strike twice and it doesn’t. It strikes three times for Ipswich Town! We were just getting over what happened at Lincoln, and then again at Sunderland, when we faced Portsmouth at home and once again, the referee had an absolute mare. He denied Town a stonewall penalty when Oliver Hawkins was hauled to the ground, and then allowed a late goal for the visitors after the line judge had convinced him that Mark McGuinness got the final touch when he clearly hadn’t. Sean Raggett probably could not believe his luck – especially after a dreadful challenge earlier in the game on McGuinness that could have got him his marching orders!
Manager Paul Lambert had made nine changes for this first round FA Cup tie, and it was little wonder that the team did not gel well in the first half – especially having gone two behind after just 13 minutes! What did delight me though was the Blues fighting spirit, as they clawed their way back into the game against an unchanged Pompey outfit. The game seemed likely to be going to penalties until of course, the referee intervened, and made another horrendous error.
I am quite frankly sick to the back teeth of this. It is becoming a reoccurring theme or more precisely perhaps, a reoccurring nightmare! How many bad decisions are we expected to suffer, and how many bad referees are waiting in the wings to take on an Ipswich match? This is the third time in five games that Town have been thwarted by poor officiating.
The only good thing to come out of this encounter was the performance of Brett McGavin, who was outstanding throughout and is far better at taking corners that Alan Judge and Andre Dozzell. He exudes quality and surely has a bright future.