Paying the penalty
August 24, 2013
THE Premier League and all Non League steps were in play last weekend and so the 2013/14 season is well and truly up and running.
Pre-season is over and the term ‘early days’, ‘when we settle down’ and ‘off to a flyer’ are once again in common language. In truth it is August and championships, promotion and relegation are won and lost in March, April and May. However, clubs with indifferent starts at all levels will not want to see gaps opening up even at this early stage such that they are transposed to ‘mountains to climb’ when the business end comes around again in the late winter and spring.
Readers of this column will know that I have been a strong advocate of goal line technology in the professional game over the past year or three. I was delighted to see technology implemented last weekend; at least in the Premier League for a start. I just wondered when the first incident would occur. We did not have to wait very long. It came at Stamford Bridge in the Chelsea v Hull City encounter and in a televised game too.
Frank Lampard’s effort on the Hull goal could have been an ‘is it’ or ‘was it’ kind of reaction. In the past the decision, one way or the other, would have been a major talking point. This, though, was as much as I could find on the web.
“The first half ended with Lampard going close and McGregor expertly clawing a Branislav Ivanovic header off the line. Hawk-Eye graphics showed it did not cross.”
From what I could see from the replay there was a lot of the ball over the line but, crucially, not all of it. Hawk-Eye said no and that was it; done and dusted, no fuss, no crowding round the ref, no jumping up and down from the bench and just as importantly to be no half time commentary totally taken up with replays from every angle, where was the lino, could the ref have seen it, was the lino up with play and so on. Thanks to the authorities for seeing sense at last, but why did it take so long and will we see Hawk-Eye at all professional levels of the game?
Now there are those who want to see cameras used for other decisions, such as the awarding of penalties. I have always said goal line, and goal line only. My problem is a stop start scenario and if the decision on a penalty is no, then how do you fairly restart the game?e those who want to see cameras used for other decisions, such as the awarding of penalties. I have always said goal line, and goal line only. My problem is a stop start scenario and if the decision on a penalty is no, then how do you fairly restart the game?
There were a good number of penalty kicks last weekend and a couple of them were the only goals of the game. Rickie Lambert certainly had a memorable week. His bullet header for England was followed up by a 90th minute winning spot kick for Southampton in the game at West Bromwich Aibion; again I searched the web for reactions.
This from West Brom manager Steve Clarke;
“I’ve seen it. There’s no doubt in my mind, it’s a very soft decision.”
So there was a doubt in your mind then Steve.
There was no comment of any note that I could find from the Saints camp which perhaps says something in itself; very late in the game then and all three points to the visitors. Rickie does not miss many, if any.
We have seen both Reading and Watford at the Mem of late. Last weekend they met in a championship fixture and a penalty got Watford back into the game after they had trailed 3-1 on 70 minutes; up steps Troy Deeney to net from the spot. This from Nigel Adkins:
“Was it a penalty, wasn’t it? It doesn’t really matter because it was given by the assistant referee.”” a penalty, wasn’t it? It doesn’t really matter because it was given by the assistant referee.”
More doubt from the home camp then and no particular comment of note from the visitors.
There was another late penalty at The Posh where the home team ran out 2-1 winners against Oldham. Posh manager Darren Ferguson simply said: “We have to count ourselves lucky to win that game.” Lee Johnson, on the other hand, could not believe Oldham failed to end Peterborough’s 100% start to the season. The penalty kick separated the sides in the end with Oldham paying the penalty.
North of the border Derek Mclnnes felt losing to Celtic by two goals was ‘harsh’ on his Aberdeen players but accepted the first half award of a penalty was justified. Goalkeeper Jamie Langfield was sent off after felling Georgios Samaras and Kris Commons netted from the spot.
There we have it then; four pens affecting the outcome of games with two accepted and two in doubt. I can’t find any strong reasons to raise the debate over technology and pens. Hang on a minute there was a fifth, was there not, and you will have your own views. It was last week and I don’t want to get myself or my football club in any sort of trouble by making public comment.
What hurts more it was a self-confessed, lifelong Rovers fan, Andy Sandell, who scored it! Talk about paying the penalty!