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Re: Line in the sand

By David B14/9/2015 13:13Mon Sep 14 13:13:39 2015In response to Re: Line in the sand

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There seems to be – predominantly – a difference between older and younger supporters (and we have far too few of the latter!!!) in the reaction to our disciplinary problems of the past few weeks. I am now in the older group, but I do see and understand both sides of the argument.

I hate seeing our players surrounding the referee after a decision – whether it is questioning his decision or trying to get a card sanction for an opponent – but that is just one of the utterly distasteful aspects of modern football. However, I love it when opposing players do the same thing because it means that they are rattled.

Red cards for retaliation are always disappointing because it shows a lack of self-discipline. Aaron Morgan’s red card against Enfield Town was needless and borne out of frustration (and it appears he was the victim of an appalling decision at East Thurrock), and I didn’t see Sam Murphy’s red card at Leiston. But, on Saturday, Aryan Tajbakhsh raised his hand to the opponent after being fouled. However light the contact might have been, and the excessive play-acting of the AFC Sudbury player was cynical, in my mind he should have been red-carded. His action, especially given the time and game situation, was utterly inexcusable.

What really upset me, though, was that Liam Wales of Sudbury was still on the pitch be substituted. His kick on Ollie Sprague – also retaliation – after 25 minutes was as easy a red card as it was possible to give, but he was given yellow. Then, with his team 3–1 up, moments after the Morgan penalty incident (see below) he was caught offside and kicked the ball 45 yards away. On this occasion, the referee knew what he had to do and went to his back-pocket, only to realise that a second yellow would have ended Wales’s involvement, so he just lectured him. Maz Bettache then ran 40 yards to complain and was shown a yellow card. It wasn’t his argument, so why did he do it?

All in all, we didn’t get the rub of the green when it came to referee’s – or, more accurately assistant referees’ (they seemed to do most of the whistle-blower’s thinking) decisions, but it must be made patently clear we weren’t good enough in either attack or defence. We had more than enough chances to have at least forced a replay if not won the tie at the first attempt, and it was interesting that AFC Sudbury’s match sponsor gave their goalkeeper the man of the match award.

At 3–1 down and with only 10 men, two crucial incidents went against us. Aaron Morgan was fouled as he got behind his defender near the goal line, but between the sidelines of the 6- and 18-yard boxes. Morgan’s error was do it down the side where there were no assistant referees to make up the man in charge’s mind for him. The ref dithered and play continued, after which we were never going to get the penalty we should have been awarded.

Then Leon Smith was given offside when he was clearly behind a defender as the ball was played through to him. The goalkeeper made a save, but Lee O'Leary knocked in the rebound. There were only a few minutes to go, and we may well not have got an equaliser, but we would have been in with a chance to put real pressure on a Sudbury defence that had not seemed particularly secure.

We have to get behind the team and support them. I have faith in Gary and his management team, as I do in Simon and his board. They will get things right, but what in mid-June seemed like a quiet summer rapidly turned into a horribly turbulent one. It appeared that we had lost only three players from last season, Peter Dean, Ben McNamara and Charlie Goode, but when the season kicked off there were 14 players from last season absent. Is it any wonder that Gary had to make some very late signings and we were not as organised as we would have liked to be?

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