Livid, Fuming, Chocka, Ired, Angered, Boiling, down right P!$$ed Off. Even now 2 days after the events on Saturday, Coeur will still feel as if they were held up by Dick Turpin, as they left St Helens after a catalogue of terrible refereeing decisions. Robbed? Pillaged? Had Over? Well most definitely, though, I would suggest that it was a case of inept refereeing and getting the big decisions wrong, rather than outright cheating. Does it soften the blow at all? Hardly. Three big decisions on the day ultimately cost Coeur a place in the next round of the LCFA Intermediate Cup. The first one was disallowing a perfectly good goal. Rob Shunter told Mark Redman to let the ball go, there were no opposition players within 5 yards of the pair, and none of them had any chance off reaching or affecting where the ball went. Mark stepped out of the way, Rob spanked the ball into the top left hand corner of the net and then the ref ruled it out, saying Rob had said let it go. Maybe if the ref knew the laws properly then the following passage may have made more sense to him.
"You must 'put a name on it'?
"He can’t say that ref!" is often heard on the pitch when an opposition player shouts to a colleague in close proximity to "leave it" or "mine" as the ball falls to him and there is nobody nearby.
It is a myth that you have to "put a name on it" and lacks foundation in the laws of the game.
However an offence is committed when it is done to solely deceive an opponent. In such circumstances, for example, a defender is stood behind an attacking player and shouts 'leave it' or its mine'. If the attacker does exactly that, thinking it was a team mate, then it is only in these instances that it would be considered unsporting behaviour and you would award an indirect free kick after stopping play and caution the offender.
Right back to the terrible decisions. No more than 10 minutes later the referee dropped his second clanger. Again Shunter was involved. He burst through from midfield knocked the ball clear and was haring though on goal when the last defender, by a few yards may I add, cynically chopped him down. Undoubtedly Rob was clean through on goal with an excellent opportunity. The lad knew he was due to walk, but somehow the referee deemed it only a booking. Now lets get this straight, Im not one for seeing lads sent off, especially when they have to pay draconian fines for such an offence. However, this was as clear cut a goal scoring opportunity that you have ever seen, therefore the only option open to the ref was a red. Who knows maybe he forgot his red card, so brandished only the yellow!!
Ok so two poor decisions had seen Coeur suffering at the hands of the referee, but the third was just as horrendous, if not even worse. Millhouse played a ball over the top, Coeur's defensive line was on halfway and two forwards were clearly in Coeur's half when the ball was played forward. I say clearly, by that I mean one was about 7-8 yards offside, the other was on the edge of the centre circle, making him fully 10 yards off. In fact the two forwards may have even been in a different postcode to the rest of the game, they were that far past the halfway line. It was that obvious, the defence waited for the whistle. BUT NO! The ref allowed play to continue much to the amusement of the Millhouse line and players. the ball was slotted home to give them a brutally unjust goal. After the game the referee admitted he couldnt see the players (maybe he couldnt spot them in the distance) and just allowed the game to flow. Cheers Ref!
Rant over, time for the match report:
12 players, just 12 players were available for the County Cup match. And when I say 12, I mean 11 and just Si on the bench. It is becoming increasingly frustrating that a consistant side with a few subs cant be fielded to allow a little bit of tactical flexibility. The 11 lined up with Kev having just about recovered sufficiently to take his place in goal. The back four consisted of Joe, Jay, Tommy and Rob Phil. Mick and Mully took their places in the wide midfield berths, while the centre of the park was occupied by Shunter and Baxi, in the absence of the squad's 4 centre midfield players (Lynchey, Draper, Mally, Sean Davies and Dave Parry). Up front saw Mark Redman paired with Peter Price. Si was the solitary entity on the bench.
Coeur started the game the brighter of the two sides. Peter Price and Mark were looking lively up front and Peter in particular was causing problems for the centre halves. Mully and Mick were also looking to get forward and support the front two. Peter was freed down the right, turned the defender well and fed a lovely little ball back into the path of Mick Taylor, who clipped it over the keeper, only to see it miss by a whisker. Minutes later good pressure from Mark forced the keeper into a hasty clearance and the ball fell to Mully, 30 yards from goal. He fired an instant shot goalwards, but it drifted away at the last and missed the target by just a couple of feet. The pressure was mainly Coeur's at this point, but Millhouse took advantage of a slip in the Coeur defence, which allowed them to fire in the opener.
Disappointing, but far from downheartening, Coeur continued pushing forward. Peter Price escaped again and crossed a dangerous ball into the box, but Coeur were unable to get anybody to apply the finish that it deserved. Mark Redman also fashioned a chance as he turned in the box and fired off a shot, only to see it deflected away for a corner. The resulting corner was floated in and it dropped at the edge of the box, Mark was trying to get his body in position for a shot, but Shunter shouted for Mark to leave the ball and spanked it right in the top corner of the net. Awesome strike, no complaints from the opposition, just smirks when the referee ruled it out. Coeur were livid, but im sure you have established that fact by now. Minutes later saw a trademark Shunter break. He burst past the static defence only to be cleaned out by the last defender. Again, we know the facts about this miscarriage of justice. The game continued to half time, both sides creating a few half chances, but neither keeper really troubled any further.
Millhouse 1 Sacre Coeur 0
The second half saw more chances created by Coeur, with Millhouse looking to counter when they got the opportunity. Coeur created an excellent counter attack of their own, when a Millhouse corner was headed clear. Peter beat the lad on the edge of the box to the ball and fed it into the path of Jay Kay. Jay then turned on the after burners, tearing away fully 70 yards down the left flank, skipping past a couple of challenges on the way. He fired a great cross into the near post where Peter came flying in to meet the ball. He managed to get a knee onto the cross, but it flashed agonisingly wide of the post, missing by inches.
The referee then produced another odd decision. He awarded Millhouse an indirect free kick 25 yards from goal. The first player touched the ball slightly, then it was whacked over the bar and some 40 yards behind the goal. The referee then inexplicably allowed them to take the free kick again. Why?? Well apparently the ball hadnt travelled a full revolution when the first player had touched it. So what, it had travelled 60 yards or so when the second lad touched it. Does that not count as a full revolution of the ball? Strange!
Coeur continued to attack and another lungbusting charge from Shunter saw him break past the defence and he cracked a vicious left footed drive in. Tommy Stevo leapt in the air to celebrate, sadly too prematurely as the ball cannoned back off the post and was hacked to safety. So with Coeur having the majority of the pressure and play at this time Millhouse were resorting to long balls to try and catch Coeur on the break. This being the point where the referee gave the opposition the priviledge off being able to stand 10 yards offside then run on and score.
The game was getting a little heated at this point and some little ginger kid threw a nasty two footed stamp in on Baxi. He would have been lucky to escape with a yellow, but the ref decided not even to brandish that! Si saw red from the bench and decided to introduce himself for Mully, who had been running on empty for a while. Within seconds Coeur saw another opportunity denied. The ball broke to Si, who fed Joe in down the right. He crossed into the path of Jay Kay, whose smart volley was tipped over by the keeper who was thankful it was almost right at him. The corner saw Tommy Stevo hammer a difficult volley goalwards, only for that too to be diverted away from the goal.
5 minutes to go saw Peter, Mark, Jay and Si up front. A ball was fed into the box and the sheer presence of Coeur's forwards saw panic in the defence. The ball ricocheted off 3 defenders, before the lad on the line Djimi Traore'd it into his own net. Coeur continued to pile forward and with seconds to go a free kick was awarded 25 yards from goal. Millhouse dropped deep and Coeur loaded the box. Sadly though Shunter saw his name up in lights and decided to have a pop at goal. It missed!
So the final whistle went and Coeur left St Helens angry and disappointed as they had been the better side and created plenty of chances. Someone needs to admit to p!$$ing Lady Luck off as she certainly wasnt on Coeur's side today. Neither was the referee. Again I would like to point out that we dont feel the ref was biased or favouring the opposition, just that his application of the laws of the game were completely incorrect on all the big decisions today. Indeed, there were a couple of challenges from both sides that he could and maybe should have cautioned players for.
Millhouse 2 Sacre Coeur 1