Donohue gets early Boro trip - Referee
Thursday, 15th Apr 2021 13:06 by Clive Whittingham
Matt Donohue gets a QPR game for the first time since making rather a mess of our November defeat at Brentford, as the R’s head to Middlesbrough.
Referee >>> Matt Donohue (Manchester)
Assistants >>> Robert Merchant (Staffordshire) and Matthew McGrath (East Yorkshire)
Fourth Official >>> Sebastien Stocksbridge (Tyne and Wear)
Rangers came on really strongly at the end of the first half, and should not only have led at half time, but also been playing against ten men. The decision to leave Jansson out and go with Sorensen at centre back against Dykes instead was, even allowing for the Swede’s niggling hamstring issues, not one of Thomas Frank’s better ideas. It had threatened to come home to roost all half, with Dykes turning in his best performance for QPR so far, and sure enough eight minutes before half time the Scottish international got in behind his man, clean through on goal, with the ball under control and the goal opening up in front of him. With no other defenders around, and the ball not running through to the goalkeeper, it was the dictionary definition of a clear goalscoring opportunity and so when Sorensen admitted defeat and barged the QPR man in the back making no attempt to play at the ball as he broke into the penalty area a free kick and red card were the only decisions that could be reached. Referee Matt Donohue chose yellow.
Given that Dykes, shortly after, was played clean through again with the excellent Ilias Chair up in support for a square ball and snatched at a horribly skewed left footed shank into the stand you could joke about it not being an obvious goal scoring opportunity because it was him, and that it’s probably a good job he was fouled, but it was a dire piece of refereeing, and it wasn’t the only decision he butchered either. Rangers would end the game with ten men, and you couldn’t really argue with either of Todd Kane’s yellow cards, one for a deliberate pull on Mbeumo, the other for a late thigh high challenge on Marcus Forss. You could, however, wonder why Kane was sampling the early bath water for two fouls, while Master of all He Surveys Ivan Toney was allowed to kick and niggle his way through the whole game, including a first half incident where he felt aggrieved that a free kick wasn’t awarded for a good Niko Hämäläinen tackle so chased the Finnish full back down the field and deliberately booted him up in the air. Such red-mist retribution is usually mandatory card territory - here it warranted a friendly word on the side. Likewise, you might find it difficult to tell the difference between Brentford’s Dalsgaard banging his hands together in the linesman’s face and screaming “fuck’s sake” over the award of a throw in in the fortieth minute, and Dominic Ball's frustrated spiking of the ball into the turf over an identical incident on 74, other than one received a yellow card, and one didn’t.
Matt Donohue, like Michael Salisbury who had a torrid afternoon in our recent home game with Watford, is a very recent addition to the Championship list. With crowds in, neither fixture is one I’d expect to be given to somebody who’s only been refereeing at this level for a season or so. May I venture to suggest the people who decide such things are taking advantage of games being behind closed doors – although by the looks and sounds of things ‘behind closed doors’ means something rather different to Brentford than it does to the rest of us – to get some higher profile, more difficult Championship action into some younger, less experienced referees. Neither Salisbury nor Donohue looked at all comfortable in either game, and big decisions were bottled in both. Usually I’d follow a ref rant with a “but QPR didn’t lose this because of the officials…” paragraph, but not today. They were, to a large extent, refereed out of the contest, and Warbs Warburton’s righteous fury in the post match was fully justified.
QPR had been so irrelevant and inadequate in the first half that mighty, progressive, future-gazing Brentford had to change their entire set up at half time to cope with them. On came Jansson, immediately sharing some of Toney’s diplomatic immunity to knee Lyndon Dykes in the back off the ball in full view of the referee to no punishment, and the hosts switched to a back three. Rangers had scored one, missed a sitter, tested Raya with a long ranger from Chair, and been fouled when clean through on goal in the first half, but struggled to create chances thereafter – the exposure of Sorensen, in particular, brought to an immediate halt by the change.
Brentford: Raya 6; Dalsgaard 5 (Jansson 46, 7), Pinnock 6, Sorensen 5, Henry 8; Dasilva 5 (Jensen 46, 6), Janelt 6, Marcondes 6 (Forss 71, 7), Mbeumo 6 (Ghoddos 87, -), Fosu-Henry 6 (Canos 71, 6); Toney 8
Goals: Janelt 14 (assisted Henry), Toney 64 (assisted Marcondes)
Yellow Cards: Sorensen 39 (denying clear goalscoring opportunity), Canos 90+6 (foul)
QPR: Dieng 6; Kane 6, Dickie 7, Barbet 7, Hämäläinen 5 (Bonne 85, -); Ball 6 (Adomah 80, 5), Carroll 7; Osayi-Samuel 7, Chair 6, Willock 6 (Thomas 71, 5); Dykes 7
Subs not used: Wallace, Masterson, Kakay, Kelly, Bettache, Kelman
Goals: Dykes 26 (assisted Osayi-Samuel)
Red Cards: Kane 83 (two yellows)
Yellow Cards: Hämäläinen 29 (foul), Kane 65 (foul), Ball 74 (dissent), Kane 83 (foul)
Referee – Matt Donohue (Manchester) 3 Inconsistent, incoherent, incorrect decision making from an easily influenced referee way below the standard required to officiate at this level.
Charlton were tits deep in shit themselves. One nil down and it should have been three. That’s not to say they didn’t have chances – Joe Lumley made a good save with his legs to stop Lyle Taylor equalising Cameron’s goal straight from the kick off. But this was a team without a win in ten games and with an injury list that the script writers of the Casualty Christmas Special would baulk at, and initially at least they looked exactly that. Referee Matt Donohue, with all the passive naivety we saw from him at Cardiff earlier this season, allowed a blatant and fragrant attempt to kick Eze out of the game from Darren Pratley continue unchecked for a quarter of an hour under the It’s a Bit Early For A Yellow Card Legislation of 1988 before finally booking the crusty old git for repetitive hacking and dissent. With that nipped in the bud, and Jonathan Leko forced off through injury barely ten minutes in, they looked to be in all sorts of problems.
QPR: Lumley 6; Kane 5, Hall 7, Leistner 7, Manning 6; Cameron 5, Amos 6 (Scowen 78, 6); Pugh 6 (Chair 78, 6), Eze 7, Wells 4 (Osayi-Samuel 66, 8); Hugill 6
Subs not used: Barnes, Wallace, Bouncing Bomb, Smith, Ball
Goals: Cameron 5 (assisted Eze), Pugh 70 (assisted Osayi-Samuel)
Bookings: Manning 53 (unsporting), Amos 55 (foul), Hugill 81 (foul)
Charlton: Phillips 7; Matthews 6, Lockyer 6, Sarr 6, Purrington 3 (Pearce 27, 5); Leko – (Morgan 11, 7), Pratley 6, Gallagher 8, Doughty 7 (Oshilaja 88, -); Bonne 6, Taylor 7
Subs not used: Ledley, Solly, Maynard-Brewer, Dempsey
Goals: Taylor 56 (assisted Morgan), Sarr 90+5 (assisted Phillips)
Bookings: Pratley 17 (dissent), Morgan 53 (unsporting), Matthews 89 (foul)
Referee – Matt Donohue (Manchester) 6 I’ve heard and read loads of grief for this referee so far today but I didn’t come away thinking he’d done anything particularly wrong. He’s new on the Championship list this season, and he’s often quite weak when it comes to dealing with cynical, senior, experienced professionals engaging in the dark arts – we saw that in spades against Cardiff earlier this season and then again here with Darren Pratley hacking his way through Ebere Eze in the opening stages. There was a shout for a late penalty on Hugill, but I didn’t particularly think it was. And five minutes of stoppage time was completely fair – compounded by somebody in Ellerslie Road throwing the ball away causing extra time to be added in which Charlton scored – and was what was added despite the incorrect announcement that there would only be four.
The time wasting in this one started after little more than a quarter of an hour. Every time the ball went out for a throw in, a farcical routine would kick into gear whereby a Cardiff player would set off at walking pace looking for the ball, then having located it set off at walking pace in the other direction to find a towel to dry it with on the first day for three fucking weeks where there’d been no rain, then walk back to roughly where the throw in should be taken, then walk very, very slowly away from that spot down the line, and finally chuck the ball. Every free kick awarded was followed immediately by the ball being nudged ten or 15 yards away from where it needed to be by a player who would then stand on the spot and refuse to move back without a prolonged argument about whether the offence had actually been committed very slightly further back. Goal kicks were taken in the sort of time a half decent artist might be able to complete an oil on canvas of Smithies lining the thing up.
All of this was passively overseen by referee Matt Donohue, in his first season on the Championship list and completely and utterly out of his depth here in dealing with experienced, professional, cynical footballers. He refereed like he was scared to say anything to the players under his charge, twice in the first half playing advantages through bad fouls and failing to return to the offender later for even so much as a word. He happily let Morrison pull that towel trick all night, only very occasionally blowing his whistle for a second time and making a hand gesture that I think was supposed to signal that perhaps a minute and a half is long enough to prepare for a throw in and the ball should probably be back in play by now. He did go and speak to Smithies at one point, delaying the game further, to make it clear that he absolutely wouldn’t stand for very much more of this stuff for very much longer. And then did. Dust the sand out of your vagina and do something about it for goodness sake. Despite it all, the standard two minutes was added to the first half and four to the second. It didn’t matter, QPR would have lost regardless, but two minutes was a bold call given what had gone in that half and four at the end of the second was, frankly, a total fucking shambolic embarrassment that should see him spending some time back down the divisions for a few weeks.
I’ve said this a fair bit, usually after losing to Preston, but QPR are horribly naïve in this sort of situation. Do I want us to go full Ben Pearson on the situation? No. But when the referee is standing there scratching his pubics while Sean Morrison ambles off down the touchline looking for a towel to wipe the ball for a routine throw in on a dry night, it’s not beneath us or unbecoming to get in the referee’s ear and ask what in the name of fuck is going on. On Saturday Jake Livermore spoke to the referee so much in the first half I thought it might be his dealer - asking why every QPR offence wasn’t a yellow card, and downplaying everything West Brom did. We just sort of kick around and let it happen, timid lads in the playground, bullied by the bigger boys.
Cardiff: Smithies 7; Peltier 6, Morrison 7, Flint 7, Bennett 5; Bacuna 5, Pack 6; Whyte 5 (Hoilett 87, -), Tomlin 6 (Paterson 65, 6), Murphy 5; Glatzel 5 (Ward 81, -)
Subs not used: Etheridge, Nelson, Mendez-Laing, Coxe
Goals: Morrison 11 (assisted Flint), Pack 45+1 (assisted Whyte), Paterson 72 (assisted Bacuna)
Bookings: Whyte 87 (foul), Paterson 80 (unsporting)
QPR: Kelly 5; Rangel 5 (Kane 66, 6), Cameron 4, Leistner 5, Manning 6; Ball 5 (Wells 63, 5), Scowen 6; Osayi-Samuel 6, Chair 6 (Pugh 80, -), Eze 7; Hugill 5
Subs not used: Lumley, Wallace, Mlakar, Masterson
Bookings: Manning 80 (unsporting)
Referee – Matt Donohue (Manchester) 4 Out of his depth. Taken for a fool by more experienced players who knew what they were doing. Allowed the game to descend to a pace so slow it was literally stationary for long periods. You could drink eight pints of Carling and produce a piss stronger than this bloke.
Wigan, so comfortable in the first half, were now having a bit of a panic for themselves. Kipre, a human Redwood for the first 45, was starting to sway a bit in the growing storm. A high boot on Ilias Chair – not difficult, to be fair to him – was right on the cusp of the penalty box but drew only a free kick from newbie referee Matt Donohue. Rangers protested, as well they might, they haven’t scored a direct free kick since Yeni Ngbakoto did so at Birmingham City in February 2017 and have spent the early rounds of 2019/20 hopelessly punting one attempt after another into the base of the wall. Not, it should be said, that we’ve been a lot better with penalties recently either. All runs come to an end eventually though and with two QPR men allowed to stand on the end of the Wigan wall (thought there was a new rule about that this season?) Ebere Eze was able to cutely pick his spot to the left of the defenders, and the keeper, but not so far that the ball couldn’t neatly beautifully in the side-netting for 2-1. We have choreographed handshakes now too, just in case any Spurs scouts are in the house.
QPR: Lumley 5; Rangel 5, Hall 6, Barbet 6, Manning 6; Scowen 5 (Leistner, 46 7), Ball 5 (Smith 71, 6); Eze 8, Chair 7, Pugh 7 (Hugill 68, 6); Wells 6
Subs not used: Kane, Osayi-Samuel, Owens, Kelly
Goals: Wells 48 (assisted Rangel, pre-assist Manning), Eze 61 (direct free kick, won Chair), Hugill 81 (assisted Eze)
Bookings: Char 45+2 (diving), Hall 78 (unsporting)
Wigan: Marshall 4; Kipre 6 (Massey 78, 6), Dunkley 5, Fox 5; Byrne 6, Robinson 7; Morsy 5, Evans 5, Jacobs 5 (Naismith 56, 5); Lowe 6 (Lang 59, 5), Garner 5
Subs not used: MacLeod, Mulgrew, Roberts, Jones
Goals: Kipre 2 (assisted Fox)
Bookings: Dunkley 58 (foul), Kipre 65 (foul), Robinson 76 (foul), Garner 78 (unsporting)
Referee – Matt Donohue (Manchester) 7 Lot of bookings, but all justified. Maybe could have done more to stop Joe Garner being Joe Garner before it finally boiled over into a spat with Hall for which both were yellow carded but everything else pretty spot on and game management was fine.
This is only Donohue’s third full season on the Football League list having stepped out of the National League in 2018/19. He booked 135 players (3.64) and sent a further seven off in 37 appointments that season - all of those were in League’s One and Two, and the cup competitions, with the Championship step up only coming in 2019/20.
He booked 112 (3.73) and sent six off in 30 appointments, 21 of those in our division, last season. He showed eight yellow cards on the opening day at Crewe 0-3 Plymouth, and again in our 2-2 draw with Charlton, which were his busiest days.
So far this season 69 yellows and four reds in 26 games, led by six yellows at the recent Millwall 0-2 Blackburn Championship fixture. His two Middlesbrough appointments so far came in a 2-1 loss at Derby and 1-1 home draw with Bournemouth.
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