Another game and another frustrating afternoon marred by confusing refereeing.
It was a very good and even contest between Cambridge City and Cambridge United that ended up with the underdog winning 2-1 aet. So why do I ended up being frustrated by the refereeing? I accept that I spent way too much time moaning about them, but the same errors happen too often.
I also accept that I should put myself in their shoes. And I did ref a game or two at Sunday League level. Guess what, the safety is absolutely not guaranteed there, especially when the players’ mates are threatening you on the touchline. We all remember all those videos of referees being chased o the pitch by players and fans and it is scary enough to prevent anyone from trying to become a referee.
I am also not saying the referees are cheating or being biased. I leave this to the Premier League clubs who can actually show the FA and the PGMOL that some of them have a clear statistical bias against certain teams, but it is another long story.
So what riled me today? The referee not recognizing a game changing moment and not acting on it.
With both goalkeepers being in excellent form during the game. A Cambridge City forward took out the United in the typical late charging on the goalie that get barely penalized. While the goalie was lying on the floor in pain, the referee spent a lot of time remonstrating a player who was complaining about his decision.
Why not wave the physio in straight away instead of lecturing the player for a long time? There was nothing wrong with booking the player for dissent. You cannot have a game, when players spend their time moaning at the referee. But the United goalie was severely incapacitated and actually had to be replaced before extra-time because she was unable to continue.
So the referee only gave a free-kick to the goalie and no card was issued. This is something that I find unacceptable. Protecting the physical integrity of the players should be a refereeing priority. As we have seen in the recent FA WSL and FAWC incident, it is not the case and it happened again today.
To me it was really clear. It was a yellow card at least for dangerous play, then would have been changed into red for serious foul play, once we would the severity of the injury for the goalkeeper.
Cambridge City got a competitive advantage out of it and scored one goal with the injured goalie and another one with the sub goalie on the pitch and unable to catch the ball. It was an excellent strike, but you feel the main goalie would have been able to save it.
The big question is why the referee allow Cambridge City to get such an advantage unpunished. Answer on a postcard, please. Clearly this was unfair on United and I am baffled that the referee did not recognize and act on a key moment of the game. You really do wonder what the FA actually tells the referees because the Law 12 seemed to be ignored too often.
On the side note, the game will be replayed as the pitch was not at the right size and the FA decided to replay it.