Date: 17th October 2011 at 1:30pm
Written by:

Cardiff City`s draw with Ipswich Town on Saturday was fraught with controversy with a number of peculiar and debatable decisions by the officials leading to frustration and confusion on several occasions throughout the game. Thankfully, the result was not detrimentally affected and a draw was probably a fair result on balance.

Three defining moments caused the majority of the problems. The first was Ipswich`s second goal, a messy headed goal, with Michael Chopra nodding home a looping cross at the far post. The City players stopped, with the assistant flagging and with Ipswich celebrating, even took the free-kick for a supposed offside. However, after consulting the referee, the Tractor Boys continued to celebrate and a goal was given without further consultation between the officials.

The referee and his assistants were pretty shocking throughout, guessing at decisions and infuriating the home crowd. After awarding countless free-kicks to the visitors, the Bluebirds were given a decision – clearly wrong after an obvious foul on Bowyer. Visiting manager Paul Jewell was left incensed when the Bluebirds won a penalty, converted by Whittingham to secure a point for City. There seemed little danger, but Earnshaw`s persistence saw him able to hook a ball back into play from the by-line and Cresswell inexplicably raised his hand. Presumably he wasn`t expecting Earnshaw to reach the ball – he had little chance to get out of the way, but his arm was up and contact was clear. The referee awarded a penalty, but chose to consult his assistant amid a crowd of players. The assistant barely gave a decision all day, missing several offsides when CCFC players were allowed to play-on. He told the ref he hadn`t seen anything (despite having a great view) and the decision stood.

A third decision came soon after, when Kevin McNaughton was denied a clear penalty after bursting into the box and playing a one two with Filip Kiss. I`m not sure whether McNaughton would have collected a return pass, but he was scythed down from behind and left flabbergasted as the referee waved play on. McNaughton rarely appeals for anything, but he was clearly baffled and dismayed. Not wanting to cause further controversy, the referee took the easy way out.

Thankfully, neither side was too adversely affected by the decisions, and a draw was fair. A second penalty would have seemed unfair on Ipswich, but it was the clearest of all the decisions and was 100% a penalty. The officials were extremely poor, frustrating for the players, crowd and management but on this occasion – no real harm was done and both sides can move on with optimism and confidence in the upcoming busy period.