Jones takes Millwall clash - Referee
Wednesday, 19th Sep 2018 08:30 by Clive Whittingham
Robert Jones from Merseyside is the referee for tonight's London derby between QPR and Millwall which, given how he handled his last visit to W12, doesn't bode well.
Referee >>> Robert Jones (Merseyside), thirdseason on the Football League list.
But Preston were deservedly level before half time. They’d sparked a panic with a seventh minute corner that Baptiste headed behind, then done so again immediately with Ingram flapping at the first one and then gratefully collecting during a scramble from its return. Clarke had gone close with a header from a sixteenth minute free kick, albeit from an offside position. The excellent Alan Browne was denied a clear run on goal on the half hour only by an excellent recovery tackle from Alex Baptiste and Ingram had escaped with just a yellow card from referee Rob Jones for charging out of his area and committing a foul in the left back area. A goal mouth scramble just before half time ended when Furlong stabbed the ball behind and, although a Manning free kick looked goalbound at the other end until Daniel Johnson thrust out a leg, a Preston equaliser felt like it was coming and was duly scrambled just over the line by hotpants enthusiast Callum Robinson from close range. They were aided and abetted thereafter by an increasingly extraordinary refereeing performance from Merseyside’s Rob Jones. I’d been really impressed with him in our home game with Sunderland a month ago, and thought his calm authority and willingness to allow the game to flow showed why he’s been fast tracked up from Conference to Championship level in little more than 18 months. But here, the decisions got more mystifying as the game went on.
He spent the first half spoiling an already fairly rancid game by penalising absolutely every little tiny thing that went on. That’s a foul, that’s a foul, that’s a foul, that’s definitely a foul, don’t do that, or that, or that, stop that, foul, that’s a foul, that’s a foul. Foul. Foul. That’s a foul. Foul. Foul. That’s a foul. Foul there. That’s a foul, that’s a foul, that’s a foul, that’s a foul. What an absolute fucking ball ache. There was then a weird moment on half time where Robinson was the victim of a horror tackle for which no free kick was awarded, only for Cuningham to be blown up and booked for a lesser offence on Bright Osayi-Samuel. From that moment on, and with Browne and Pearson leading a four-man refereeing committee who surrounded Jones after every decision for a prolonged debate, and again on the way off at half time, and again on the way on for the second half, his control slipped further with each passing minute. This culminated in an outrageous final quarter of an hour in which Preston, now leading, were allowed to take three separate water breaks during stoppages in play with no cards shown, and Ebere Eze was hacked to the ground without even a free kick being awarded. It had no impact on the result, Preston were better and deserved their win, QPR would have lost with a competent referee, but my good God this was quite something.
North End’s use of the game’s darker arts was masterful, and allowed to continue completely unchecked by the officials. QPR lost the plot through the frustration of it all. Matt Smith, in particular, was guilty of giving up and sulking when it became clear he was getting nothing from the referee all afternoon. Idrissa Sylla replaced him but he too quickly became embroiled in arguments - at one stage hilariously taking a Preston free kick for them when the time wasting became too much to bare - rather than focusing on chasing an equaliser. Sylla had a weak penalty appeal waved away immediately, then straight away at the other end Bidwell seemed fortunate to get away with handball in his own area.
QPR: Ingram 6; Furlong 6, Baptiste 6, Robinson 6, Bidwell 6; Cousins 5 (Freeman 73, 5), Luongo 5, Manning 6; Eze 5, Osayi Samuel 5 (Smyth 63, 6), Smith 5 (Sylla 63, 5)
Subs not used: Smithies, Scowen, Wszolek, Kakay
Goals: Smith 13 (assisted Manning)
Bookings: Ingram 38 (foul), Robinson 70 (foul), Luongo 83 (foul)
Preston: Rudd 7; Fisher 7, Clarke 6, Huntington 6, Cunningham 6; Pearson 7, Browne 8; Barkhuizen 6, Johnson 7 (Harrop 63, 6), Bodin 6 (Gallagher 63, 6); Robinson 7 (Horgan 90+4, -)
Subs not used: Davies, Moult, Maxwell, Earl
Goals: Robinson 45 (assisted Fisher), 72 (assisted Browne)
Bookings: Cunningham 41 (foul)
Referee – Robert Jones (Merseyside) 2 Here’s what we said about him post Sunderland, when we gave him 8/10: I liked him a lot, and can see why he’s climbed so rapidly from Conference to Championship in little over 18 months. Calm, keen to let play flow, lenient to the point of generous but absolutely right to show the three yellow cards he did and no choice with the sending off. Where the hell did that guy go? First half, everything was a foul. Everything. Ball was in play for about seven minutes all half. Second half, do what you like, knock yourselves out. Prolonged water breaks while leading 2-1 in the last ten minutes? Fine. A substitution that wouldn’t have taken as long if it had included a parade around Shepherd’s Bush and civic reception at Hammersmith Town Hall? Fine. Deliberate, violent and successful attempt to completely take Eze out as he looks like he might break over the halfway line? Fine. Everything fine, except Ryan Manning’s tackle of the game, which was a free kick apparently. Built like a brick shit house and to be honest we’d have been better with one of those out there. Important point though – nothing to do with the result, QPR would have lost with a proper referee as well.
Shortly after half time, for reasons known only to himself, Steele came haring out of his penalty area into a region adequately covered by defenders, on a fool’s errand to try and deal with a bouncing ball that he’d misjudged from the very beginning. Having run under it, and with Little Smyth in behind him and ready to run the ball into the open net, he decided he had no choice but to thrust his arms up and palm the ball away from danger. Deliberate handball, denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, even a referee as lenient and keen to keep the cards in his pocket as newbie Robert Jones had no choice or hesitation in sending him off.
Big Smith headed a Bidwell cross wide, Little Smyth drew another good save from Camp from a narrow angle, Darnell Furlong showed his prodigious aerial ability with a header from a pre-planned Freeman corner but planted it straight into the keeper’s arms when a foot either side would have been a goal. Another header from the impressive young full back seemed destined for the net until Matt Smith helped it on its way and was flagged offside – haven’t seen it back but from where I was it was a goal if he’d left it. Freeman and Onuoha were both booked for very strong mistimed tackles.
QPR: Smithies 6; Furlong 6, Onuoha 7, Robinson 6 (Lynch 46, 5), Bidwell 6; Scowen 6, Luongo 6; Freeman 5, Eze 7 (Manning 89, -), Smyth 6 (Osayi-Samuel 72, 6); Smith 6
Subs not used: Cousins, Washington, Ingram, Wszolek
Goals: Eze 62 (assisted Smith)
Bookings: Freeman 61 (foul), Onuoha 74 (foul)
Sunderland: Steele 3; Matthews 6, Kone 5, O’Shea 3, Oviedo 6; Cattermole 3, Asoro 6 (Camp 51, 7), Williams 3 (McGeady 30, 6), Ejaria 6, Honeyman 6; Fletcher 4 (Maja 87, -)
Subs not used: Jones, McManaman, Gooch, Robson
Red Cards: Steele 49 (deliberate handball denying goalscoring opportunity)
Bookings: O’Shea 70 (foul)
Referee – Robert Jones (Merseyside) 8 I liked him a lot, and can see why he’s climbed so rapidly from Conference to Championship in little over 18 months. Calm, keen to let play flow, lenient to the point of generous but absolutely right to show the three yellow cards he did and no choice with the sending off.
Jones was given the Ipswich v Norwich derby earlier this month which suggests he’s on the fast track to higher echelons in the game. That’s one of six games he’s had so far this season, all in the Championship or League Cup, with 16 yellows and no reds so far.
Jones only joined the Football League list in 2016/17 after finishing his non-league days with the Conference play-off final at Wembley between Forest Green and Grimsby Town. He booked 122 and sent off four in 41 mostly League One and Two games that season, making a Championship bow at Barnsley v Brentford and then Preston v Rotherham right at the end of the campaign.
He stepped into the Championship in November 2017 and finished the season with 45 games in all comps, 132 yellows and eight reds.
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