West Ham and Everton unite in disappointment at abject performance by ref Taylor
23:34 GMT, 23 December 2012
The season of goodwill to all men started this weekend and referees tested that sentiment with a number of baffling decisions. Red cards and penalties were the main bones of contention but one assistant referee standing up to be counted in the battle against the holding and blocking at set pieces looked at odds with the rest of his colleagues.
Referees know that they will seldom drive home with praise ringing in their ears but it is unusual to incur the wrath of both managers and all 35,000 fans in attendance. However, Anthony Taylor managed exactly that after a poor display of officiating at Upton Park.
The red cards shown to Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson were, at very best, extremely harsh, particularly that of the West Ham striker who watched the ball through the air. Whilst his foot was high I could not see any reason to dismiss him. I think Taylor reacted too quickly to what he thought he saw rather than wait and reflect; the best referees, rather like the best players, appear to have more time than others.
Kicking up a stink: Darron Gibson and Carlton Cole were both sent off
Shocker: Few agreed with Anthony Taylor's decision to send them off
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Taylor is a good referee who had a bad day and should look at his more experienced colleagues and learn from them – in particular Howard Webb, who is excellent at taking his time to give himself the best possibility of getting decisions correct – as he did at St Mary’s when waving away the home team's penalty appeals.
Mike Dean is another excellent referee enjoying a good season but he angered Reading boss Brian McDermott at the Etihad on Saturday. I had a little sympathy for McDermott who's team had battled well at the home of the Champions and deserved a penalty. McDermott wanted the kick for a block on Jay Tabb but I felt the penalty should have been awarded for handball by a City defender before contact was made with Tabb.
Of course, McDermott’s mood was not helped by conceding the only goal of the game to a Gareth Barry header. There was nothing wrong with Dean’s judgement with that goal despite McDermott’s insistence that Barry had climbed on Nicky Shorey’s shoulders. Barry was merely more determined to win the ball, which disappointingly Shorey made no attempt to play.
As usual the claim was made that the
referee was favouring the 'big team', a view which was unfounded at the
Etihad but did hold water up the road at Wigan. Roberto Martinez has
often complained about rough justice and after having a soft, but
correct, penalty awarded against him he was denied two, clearer
penalties for handball by referee Jon Moss.
High hopes: Gareth Barry rises to beat Nicky Shorey to the ball
Martinez is an intelligent manager who knows the laws and perceptively stated that neither Kieran Gibbs nor Thomas Vermaelen had their arms in natural positions when they blocked Wigan shots – exactly the phrase referees are asked to consider at possible hand ball situations.
Finally, we return to Upton Park, where the first decision of the game probably set the tone for the match when after just four minutes Everton had a goal disallowed for a block on the West Ham keeper. The offence by Victor Anichebe was a minor infringement and apparently given by assistant Gary Beswick, who was almost 50 yards away and looking through players and a goal post. Worse holding offences happened all over the country and went unpunished and Beswick must realise that a consistent approach is required.
Let’s hope that our beleaguered match officials get what they are hoping for tomorrow before returning to action on Boxing Day.