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England gets Preston trip - Referee
Monday, 22nd Feb 2021 16:36 by Clive Whittingham

Darren England gets his first QPR appointment of the season as the R’s head to Preston on Wednesday night.

Referee >>> Darren England (Barnsley), refereed our 6-1 win against Cardiff last season.

Assistants >>> James Mainwaring (Lancashire) and Ian Hussin (Merseyside)

Fourth Official >>> Jarred Gillett (Gold Coast)


West Brom 2 QPR 2, Wednesday July 22, 2020, Championship

West Brom: Johnstone 6; Furlong 6 (Townsend 81, -), Ajayi 6, Bartley 6, O’Shea 5; Livermore 6 (Phillips 90, -), Sawyers 7 (Brunt 71, 6); Pereira 6 (Grosicki 81, -), Diangana 7 (Austin 71, 6), Krovinovic 7; Robinson 7

Subs not used: Harper, Bond, Hegazi, Robson Kanu

Goals: Diangana 44 (assisted Robinson), Robinson 49 (assisted Diangana)

QPR: Lumley 6; Kakay 5 (Shodipo 81, -), Masterson 6, Barbet 5, Manning 6 (Gubbins 90+4, -); Cameron 6 (Ramkilde 57, 6), Ball 6, Amos 6; Osayi-Samuel 7 (Kane 79, -), Chair 7, Eze 7

Subs not used: Oteh, Bettache, Kelly, Clarke

Goals: Manning 34 (unassisted), Eze 61 (assisted Barbet)

Referee – Darren England (Barnsley) 8 Never noticed him once.

QPR 6 Cardiff 1, Wednesday January 1, 2020, Championship

Midway point of the first half, Chair brilliant, Bright rinsing Richards, low cross, all there for Eze, but he Hugilled it over the bar. Half hour, Bright away on the counter again, deliberately fouled, referee Darren England tried to play advantage and then ridiculously didn’t pull it back and award the free kick when it arrived at the feet of an offside QPR player. No matter, Osayi-Samuel set off again within 60 seconds, breathing fire over the wheatfields of Cardiff’s scattered masses – this time Fatty Tomlin tripped him and was booked. A Toni Leistner volley from 25 yards that almost found a way through Etheridge got lost in all the semen.

Nothing really summed this complete mismatch between one team finally cutting loose and another that couldn’t find its own arse with both hands more than the sixth (sixth) goal on 65 minutes. You’ll travel a long way to see a handball more blatant than Nelson’s as he lost a high through ball in the lights in hapless fashion. Somehow referee England and his nearby linesman both missed it, which was absolutely laughable, but having escaped that scare Nelson’s centre half partner Flint then inexplicably passed the ball 30 yards backwards to Nahki Wells in his own area and he chopped back to take Etheridge and Nelson out of the game and then finished his hat trick into the empty net with just enough height and power to make you think he might have missed the bloody thing.

That really should have been that. Referee England took a half with three goals, two reasonably serious injuries and six substitutions and added one minute to it. An assessor-displeasing mercy killing if ever I saw one, but QPR being QPR couldn’t get through it without conceding a 25 yarder from Will Vaulks that Joe Lumley saw all the way and still somehow flapped into the top corner of his own net. Another desperately poor mistake from a troubled goalkeeper agonisingly short of a moral-boosting clean sheet and beautifully executed first half assist for which his team mates were all quick to congratulate him for. We’re just not allowed to have nice things are we?

QPR: Lumley 6; Cameron 7, Hall 7, Leistner 6, Wallace 7; Ball 8, Amos 8; Osayi-Samuel 9 (Smith 76, 6), Chair 8 (Pugh 66, 6), Eze 8; Wells 9 (Hugill 67, 6)

Subs not used: Kane, Manning, Mlakar, Kelly

Goals: Wells 9 (assisted Eze), 48 (assisted Eze, pre-assist Osayi-Samuel), 64 (assisted Flint), Osayi-Samuel 27 (assisted Wells), 41 (assisted Lumley), Eze 57 (assisted Chair)

Bookings: Leistner 39 (foul), Amos 86 (foul)

Cardiff: Etheridge 2; Nelson 2, Flint 3, Bamba 2 (Peltier 45, 2); Bacuna 3 (Ward 46, 4), Richards 1; Vaulks 5, Pack 4, Tomlin 4; Hoilett 5, Glatzel 4 (Whyte 69, 5)

Subs not used: Morrison, Smithies, Paterson, Madine

Goals: Vaulks 90+1 (unassisted)

Bookings: Tomlin 32 (foul)

Referee – Darren England (Barnsley) 5 Not a particularly competitive game to referee but there were some poor moments. The handball by Nelson in the lead up to Wells’ hat trick goal was absolutely blatant and had that been missed with the scoreline in the balance, rather than at 5-0, we’d be stewing. Same with the ‘advantage’ played through a first half hack at Osayi-Samuel that resulted only in QPR being offside but still wasn’t brought back. And I know both teams were quite happy with it but you can’t just add one minute onto a half with that much stuff happening in it, it makes a mockery of a stoppage time system that’s already a bit of a joke. A token three or four maybe, but even that would have been extremely skinny.

QPR 1 Aston Villa 0, Friday October 26, 2018, Championship

Jack Grealish, saving on the VAT with a pair of child’s shorts and socks, shot wide after referee Daren England played a good advantage through a foul on Abraham. Then McGinn stayed on his feet when clipped by Lynch in the penalty area – hit the deck and it’s almost certainly a spot kick. Later Pawel Wszolek would go to ground in the other box having apparently been hauled back by Neil Taylor – England said no to both appeals. When Joe Lumley confidently smashed through a crowd scene to claim a twenty sixth minute Villa corner he bowled the ball out quickly to centre half Toni Leistner who set off on a marauding rampage through the middle of the pitch. More escaped zoo animal than effective counter attack, a man with a giant butterfly net and a blow dart brought the nonsense to a swift close.

That scare survived, QPR took the lead eight minutes before half time. Initially, good refereeing, as England allowed play to continue after a foul on Hemed on halfway with the ball breaking to Cameron. Whether James Chester had mistakenly decided a free kick had been or was going to be awarded I’m not sure, but he suddenly found himself too high up the field and square to his team mate as Cameron sought out the wide open spaces beyond with an exquisite through ball. Pawel Wszolek had read the situation altogether more adeptly and raced onto the ball before finishing powerfully over Nyland and in off the underside of the bar. Goal line technology? Balls to that, get that bloody music on. Eventually England’s watch confirmed what we all knew – it was in by several feet.

Afterwards Dean Smith accused QPR of systematically kicking Grealish out of the game. Grealish and Ebere Eze are the two most fouled players in the Championship this season, though Grealish has clocked up in excess of 60 free kicks in 14 games to Eze’s 30+ which is quite remarkable really. We know through previous experience with Darren England that he’s not the most adept referee at clamping down on those sort of dark arts but I didn’t notice anything unusual in the treatment of the Villa man – bar one gratuitous attempt on his life by Lynch in the first half which he followed up with a big gobfull for the man on the floor for some reason - and in fact Eze seemed to get fouled just as often to me.

QPR: Lumley 7; Rangel 8, Leistner 8, Lynch 8, Bidwell 7; Luongo 7, Cameron 7 (Scowen 70, 7); Wszolek 8, Eze 8 (Smith 90+1, -), Freeman 8; Hemed 7 (Wells 62, 7)

Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Osayi-Samuel

Goals: Wszolek 38 (assisted Cameron)

Bookings: Lynch 29 (foul), Wszolek 80 (foul), Luongo 82 (foul)

Villa: Nyland 6; Hutton 6, Tuanzebe 6, Chester 5, Taylor 6; El Mohamady 5 (Bolasie 62, 7), Bjarnason 6 (Whelen 41, 6), McGinn 8; Grealish 7; Kodija 6, Abraham 5

Subs not used: Lansbury, Hogan Hourihane, Jedinak, Bunn

Referee – Darren England (South Yorkshire) 7 Two penalty appeals that both maybe would have been given had the players gone down – Lynch on McGinn and the pull on Wszolek. Interesting debate to have about whether players have to go down to get these decisions, whether contact is sufficient for it to be a foul and a penalty – both players were able to continue on and get their shot/cross away. Best you can say is it evened itself out and England was fair and consistent with all his other decision making as well. We know, from the Preston away game when Ben Pearson ran through his full repertoire of gamesmanship, that he can be weak in the face of such behaviour but I didn’t think QPR were anywhere near as bad for that on Friday as Dean Smith rather sourly suggested afterwards. Overall pretty decent.

Preston 1 QPR 0, Saturday August 4, 2018, Championship

The shithousery that came to define PNE’s performance at Loftus Road last season started in earnest with 15 minutes to go. Numerous instances of kicking the ball away, including by manager Alex Neil, left unchecked by referee Darren England and therefore allowed to fester. Goalkeeper Rudd swapping and changing the sides of his goalkicks (easy rule to change that one) and then hitting the floor clutching his face pretending Paul Smyth had struck him while awaiting a corner – he should be absolutely embarrassed to watch that incident back again in the video review, it was among the most pathetic things I’ve ever seen. In that final quarter of an hour three different Preston players on three separate occasions decided they’d suffered head injuries and got the game stopped. Only one of them looked legitimate, after clearing a corner, and one of them seemed to just stick his hand up and say his head hurt a bit despite being nowhere near any of the action. All were, miraculously, able to continue. Again, a rugby league style rule change where anybody who thinks they have a head injury has to go off for a 15 minute concussion assessment, would soon stop this, but you can also be stronger as a referee under the current rules. We saw several times in the World Cup referees ignoring such play acting and allowing the game to go on, making very clear they knew what the players were up to and wouldn’t stand for it. Ignore one of them rolling round on the floor once, play on and force them to get back in position and get on with it. It soon stops it. Darren England was complicit in 15 minutes of flagrant cheating here.

PNE: Rudd 7; Fisher 6, Clarke 6, Davies 6, Hughes 6; Pearson 8, Browne 7; Barkhuizen 7 (Horgan 71, 6), Harrop 6 (Ledson 83, -), Robinson 7; Moult 6 (Gallagher 77, 6)

Subs not used: Woods, Burke, Maxwell, Huntington

Goals: Browne 50 (assisted Harrop)

QPR: Ingram 5; Kakay 6, Leistner 7, Lynch 6, Bidwell 5; Scowen 6, Luongo 6 (Smyth 66, 6); Osayi-Samuel 5 (Manning 46, 6), Eze 6, Freeman 5; Smith 4 (Sylla 77, 5)

Subs not used: Cousins, Washington, Lumley, Baptiste

Yellow Cards: Manning 66 (foul), Scowen 73 (foul)

Darren England (Barnsley) 5 It’s all very well dramatically pointing to your head and making out like you have no choice but to stop the play for another three minutes because it could be a fatal brain injury, but when it’s the third or fourth time it’s happened in ten minutes, and the player hasn’t been anywhere near any of the recent action, and it’s set in the context of a litany of other time wasting, there has to come a time where a strong referee says ‘either go off for treatment or carry on but we’re not stopping again’. We saw strong clampdowns on play acting, time wasting and general arseholery during the World Cup and it wasn’t surprising how quickly it stopped once the players realised the referee wasn’t buying it. England bought everything Preston had to sell in the last 15 minutes here. Piss weak refereeing that encouraged worse and worse behaviour as the game went on. If he’d given short shrift to, say, Rudd for moving his goalkicks here there and everywhere, or Alex Neil kicking the ball away down the touchline, earlier in the game he could have nipped it all in the bud. Instead he allowed it to fester to the point of farce. Strap some on if you haven’t got a pair of your own.

Leeds 2 QPR 0, Sunday May 6, 2018, Championship

Then there was referee Darren England, who carelessly cut me and laughed while I bled with three minutes of additional time to the first half for a succession of injuries, including a nasty looking ankle problem for Scowen which I was surprised he played through. End damn you, will this bloody season never end? Put a fucking bullet in me. Three minutes? Why do you torment me so? Ahem, sorry. Furlong headed a well worked Freeman free kick over in that added time after Eze had been fouled on the edge of the area.

Things might have been interesting had Luke Freeman’s effort - which beat home keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell all ends up but missed the far post from 20 yards out - gone in immediately after the second goal, but QPR finished the game with only one shot on target. Bar a horrible tackle from Phillips on substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel – a yellow and a half – the final third of the game was intensely, stupefyingly boring and Rangers never once looked like they were going to come back into it. They sent on Osayi-Samuel, little Smyth and Oteh for Wszolek who’d done ok out of position, Eze who’d been a little half-arsed and casual for my taste, and Chair who’d been bullied out of the game by Phillips. It made not a blind bit of difference. The final whistle was like having your dog put down – sad, but thank God it’s all over with.

Leeds: Peacock-Farrell 6; Ayling 7, Jansson 6 (Pennington 46, 6), Cooper 6, Pearce 8; Phillips 7, Vieira 6; Forshaw 7 (O’Kane 87, -), Alioksi 6, Roofe 7 (Edmondson 74,6); Ekuban 5

Subs not used: Lonergan, Lasogga, Saiz, Sacko

Goals: Roofe 30, Phillips 47

Bookings: Alioski 54 (foul), Edmondson 81 (foul), Phillips 86 (foul)

QPR: Lumley 5; Wszolek 5 (Smyth 67, 5), Furlong 6, Bidwell 5, Manning 6; Cousins 4, Scowen 6, Chair 5 (Osayi-Samuel 60, 5); Freeman 6, Eze 5 (Oteh 73, 5), Smith 5

Subs not used: Ingram, Kakay, Hamalainen, Owens

Bookings: Furlong 63 (foul), Scowen 84 (foul), Bidwell 90+1 (foul)

Referee – Darren England (Barnsley) 8 A lot of bookings for a meaningless end of season game, but you couldn’t argue with any of them and actually in the case of Phillips on Osayi-Samuel he’s perhaps lucky the referee was in end of term mode.

QPR 1 Aston Villa 2, Saturday December 9, 2017, Championship

Although the R’s conceded an equaliser right on the very stroke of half time from the penalty spot, and the decision was correct, it was one that most referees wouldn’t see and came a matter of seconds before half time. Albert Adomah took Alex Smithies out of the equation with an emphatic finish but Rangers were so close to going in at half time in front which could have made a big difference.

Moments later he saved equally well from Keinan Davis, Villa’s lone striker, though Robinson seemed to have been fouled in the build-up. Mackie was definitely fouled prior to the next chance, referee Darren England waving a nonsense advantage on with Luke Freeman surrounded by four players and Villa quickly broke with Davis testing Smithies again – Whelan’s booking after the event scant consolation. Smithies saved a header from Adomah and Alex Baptiste flung himself full length across the goal to block another shot from Onomah with Villa appealing for handball. This was all in the last eight minutes of the first half so the penalty, when it finally came, for a handball by Robinson stopping Hourihane's goalbound shot, felt inevitable if irritatingly timed.

Snodgrass, a man with a lot to say for himself for somebody not good enough to get in the current abysmal West Ham team, was perhaps lucky his yellow card on the hour was only that. Having tried, not for the first time, to extract a free kick from Darren England by diving over Jake Bidwell, the Scottish winger reacted to the non-award by leaping up and smashing Bidwell in the back of the head seconds later. Having spent all afternoon spraying the match officials with abuse he’s lucky the referee was so sympathetic with him.

QPR: Smithies 8; Baptiste 4, Lynch 5, Robinson 6; Cousins 6 (Washington 63, 5), Bidwell 6; Sowen 6, Freeman 6, Luongo 6 (Manning 45, 5); Mackie 5 (Sylla 72, 6), Smith 7

Subs not used: Furlong, Wszolek, Lumley, Wheeler

Goals: Mackie 18 (assisted Freeman)

Bookings: Robinson 53 (foul), Manning 76 (foul)

Villa: Johnstone 6; Hutton 5, Samba 5, Chester 7, Taylor 6; Snodgrass 6 (Jedinak 81, 7), Whelan 6, Hourihane 7, Adomah 8 (Bjarnason 90+1, -); Onomah 8 (De Laet 86, -); Davis 8

Subs not used: Lansbury, Grealish, Steer, O’Hare

Goals: Adomah 45+3 (penalty, won Hourihane), 58 (assisted Hourihane)

Bookings: Whelan 38 (foul), Snodgrass 60 (foul), Taylor 90+1 (foul)

Referee – Darren England (Barnsley) 6 Seem him get a lot of stick post-match, but honestly I thought he was pretty good in a tough game to referee. Penalty decision was correct, and well spotted. Just before that though he’d waved away an obvious foul because he felt Luke Freeman running with the ball surrounded by four Villa players with no support was somehow an advantage. Thought he was quite generous with Snodgrass, who was diving around all over the place, went for Bidwell with his elbow after (rightly) not getting a free kick and only got booked, and spent his entire time on the pitch spraying abuse at the match officials. But overall not too bad.

QPR 2 Cardiff City 1, Saturday March 4, 2017, Championship

Cardiff had much the better of things, led from the left by tricky wide man Kadeem Harris. A former Wycombe youth product who’s spent time on loan at Brentford and Barnsley, Harris’ purposeful and dangerous wing play vindicated Holloway’s decision to go with the more experienced Perch at right back rather than expose young Darnell Furlong – Perch had to work exceptionally hard just to hang onto his opponents’ coat tails and an eleventh minute cross shot from Harris nearly squirmed its way in. Fine tackles by first Bidwell on 15 minutes and then Perch, again on Harris, after 24 denied clear runs on the goal. Massimo Luongo was booked for a foul on former R Matt Connolly. Smithies saved splendidly from Ralls before half time and then, finally, the visitors did open the scoring on the stroke of the break when Grant Hall contrived to leave Sol Bamba, just about the most conspicuous and dangerous opposition presence we’ll have visiting our penalty box all season, completely free to power a header into the top corner.

Pilkington shot over from the lesser spotted well worked short corner routine, and James Perch received his weekly yellow card for a typical shin splitter on Junior Hoilett as QPR just about saw out the game.

QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 7, Onuoha 6, Lynch 6, Bidwell 6; Goss 6 (Ngbakoto 58, 7), Hall 6, Luongo 5 (Morrison 76, 4); Mackie 6 (Wszolek 81, -), Smith 6, Washington 6

Subs not used: Ingram, Furlong, Sylla, Manning

Goals: Ngbakoto 62 (assisted Mackie), Smith 83 (assisted Ngbakoto)

Bookings: Luongo 40 (foul), Perch 88 (standard Perch shin rattler)

Cardiff: McGregor 6; Connolly 5 (Bennett 86, -), Morrison 6, Bamba 6, Richards 6; Noone 6 (Pilkington 72, 6), Gunnarsson 6 (Halford 90, -), Ralls 6, Harris 8; Hoilett 6, Zohore 6

Subs not used: Whittingham, John, Murphy, Harris

Goals: Bamba 44 (assisted Noone)

Bookings: Morrison 66 (foul)

Referee – Darren England (Barnsley) 8 Very good. Impressive.


England, an experienced linesman at the highest level, made his Championship debut as a referee at QPR v Cardiff in 2016/17. He has moved onto the Premier League list for the first time this season with eight appointments so far, most recently at Brighton’s 0-0 draw with Aston Villa. He’s shown 51 yellows and one red in 19 appointments so far. No Preston appointments yet but three last season – a 1-0 loss at Brentford, 2-1 win at Wigan and a 1-1 at Middlesbrough. He booked 94 and sent three off in 35 games across 2019/20.

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