Surrey County Premier Football League
Keens Park Rangers 1 Cranleigh 2
Man-of-the-match: Jack Baisden
Words, as the pop philosopher F. R. David once sang, don’t come easy. And there are (almost) no words to describe a game ruined as a viable and enjoyable contest by the referee.
We are, of course, grateful to referees’ who devote their time to the game and enable us all to remain involved in the sport we love. And yet, as you climb the leagues, you hope officials improve along with the standard of football. There is having a bad day at the office, and then there was this. And concerns were raised early on when the opposition centre forward’s old-skool ‘shithousery’ was swallowed whole.
Although on the receiving end of some very robust play, one decision after another went against KPR and it was only a matter of time before frustrations emerged. Doug was the first of four yellow cards in the opening 20 minutes for petulantly kicking out after some rough treatment in midfield. Woodsy, on the other hand, was extremely hard done by after an elbow, but as much as Kieran in goal also got a yellow, it seemed excessive on top of the penalty he’d conceded.
A goal down yes, but the supporters on the touchline had already seen the writing on the wall, with numerous psychics predicting the game would never finish eleven versus eleven. And it soon came to pass with Simmo sin-binned for little more than a ‘polite enquiry’.
Although physically a man down, Kieran in goal was doing the work of two with a stupendous save from point blank range and, with Simmo’s belated return, the team were soon on the front foot again. This led, early in the second half, to an equaliser after an excellent finish into the far corner from distance from Bulldog. But it was all to no avail as minutes later the referee gave another penalty after their centre forward threw himself to the ground.
Behind again salt was then rubbed into the wound after Reece was given a second yellow for merely competing for the ball. You had to feel for him because, as a very decent player, as he’s hardly Vinny Jones at the best of times.
By now the touchline were collectively apoplectic, and even their players were incredulous of the decision making on show. Needless to say they were going to take it, however. And you can’t blame them for that. But the referee’s blindness to their fouls was made clearest when their manager came onto the pitch (almost reaching the centre circle) to berate him and nothing was said or done. Having been substituted Mike, on the other hand, was given a straight red for commenting from the bench?!
Inexplicable as that was, there was still the odd flash of football on show and Kieran produced another ridiculous save from point blank range to keep KPR in the match. Indeed, despite everything, the opposition began playing for time by kicking the ball away on a number of occasions but, again, the referee took no action.
One could go on. And on. But, ultimately, it wasn’t going to matter what KPR did, and the final whistle was met by a mixture of relief and and frustration (goodness knows what Rory’s family – visiting for the first time – made of it all?). I felt I’d aged ten years.
Here’s hoping this will prove a one-off. But, if you are brave enough, the ‘Veo Nasty’ is available here.