Victory Through Harmony
By Walter Broeckx, the celebrating ref
The Ref in this second leg of the Carling Cup semi final was Mike Halsey. Second time we had him this season and let us take a look at his game.
PENALTY/CARD: Cesc goes down in the penalty area. There was an arm from the Ipswich defender against his body but I don’t think we can talk about a real push. Was it a pull? Maybe, but from a replay very much in line with the view of the ref I know he couldn’t see it if it was a pull. He gives no penalty and I can live with that. The suggestion that he should have given Cesc a yellow card is not correct. When there is contact a player can go down and then this is not a real dive. A dive is when there is no contact at all. So both correct decisions for me. 1/1 and 1/1
OTHER: Foul from Denilson which could have earned him a booking. The ref just lectures Denilson. The first real foul on the border line. So a good way of building the game as a ref. 1/1
OTHER: A foul on Wilshere and the ref waits to see the advantage. There is no so he comes back to the decision. Good job. 1/1
OTHER/CARD: A flying tackle from Ipswich player Wickham on Djourou. The ref shows the yellow card. Correct decision. 1/1 and 1/1
OTHER: Cesc goes down the middle and is attacked by 3 Ipswich players. The last defender stops the ball but the two other just bring him down. It is not because of one player committing no foul that the other two fouls can be ignored ref. 0/1
OTHER: offside decision given against Van Persie. And this was a correct decision but it was a close call. 1/1
OTHER/CARD: Koscielny goes in the book for a foul. He catches the Ipwsich player on his heel so I can accept the decision. 1/1 and 1/1
OTHER: Djourou and Priskin clash heads and the ref stops play immediately. This is the way it should be done. 1/1
So in we go at half time.
OTHER/CARD: A very strong challenge on Bendtner. The ref gives a foul but this should have been a booking. This was wild. But the ref only gives the foul. 1/1 and 0/1
OTHER/OTHER: A foul on Clichy, the assistant signals the foul the ref plays the advantage. I keep hammering on this nail but you don’t give advantage when a defender is fouled. A point for the assistant but one lost for the ref 1/1 and 0/1
OTHER: Denilson wins the ball but the ref gives a foul. The ref was right. Denilons put out his arm to stop the player. So despite the majority of the Emirates disagreeing with the ref, I do agree. 1/1
GOAL: Great pass, great touch, great skill, great dribble, great shot. There was nothing wrong with this goal. 1/1
GOAL: Corner for Arsenal after some hard work by Arshavin who takes the corner himself. And Koscielny is quicker to the ball than the keeper and heads it in. Not forbidden by the laws. 1/1
OTHER/OTHER: My MOTM (Moment of the Match). Arsenal puts some high pressure on an Ipswich defender. He tries a pass but his ball hits the ref. The ball runs to an Arsenal player who passed the ball to Van Persie who was unmarked and could have start a run between two defenders on goal and then….ref Halsey blows his whistle. Why? God and only Halsey will know why. I have seen refs make mistakes in my life but such a mistake…I must admit I have never seen it before and certainly not on this level.
A ball hitting the ref is bad luck. Nothing you can do about it. But you never stop the game as a ref for the ball hitting you except when you are injured because of the ball hitting you. The unbelief on the face of the Arsenal players was understandable. And from the moment he had blown his whistle the ref knew he had screwed up big on this moment. You could see him apologise or trying to apologise but it was too late.
He then restarted the game with the only thing he could do: a dropped ball. He made a bad mistake which at the end didn’t cost us but imagine if it still would have been 0-0 at this stage of the game. I would have had a bad night’s sleep after such a mistake. I hope he learns from this. So the only thing we can do is to take away one point for making this mistake but on the other hand he recognised his mistake and didn’t hide from it by just giving a free kick to Ipswich but restarted the game in the way it should. 0/1 and 1/1
GOAL: Good interception from Denilson, great combination between Cesc and Arshavin and Cesc scores the goal. I think our captain needed this goal as he really was full of joy. 1/1
After that the game was actually over. Apart from a stupid person who ran on the pitch for whatever reason he had made the ref stop the game for a while. Another dropped ball in this game. Also the correct restart.
OTHER/CARD: The Ipswich captain then came sliding in on Szczesny (how I like his name more and more) with his feet forward. The ref gave the foul but when you attack a keeper with your feet like that you need to get a booking. I think he left it in his pocket as the game was entering extra time and the outcome was already known. But still don’t like it. 1/1 and 0/1
So what do we have in total?
Total score: 18/23 (78 %)
So very respectable score for the ref in this difficult match. Ipswich wanted to defend in large numbers and then you always get a lot of players in a small place and this makes it more difficult for the ref. You cannot always see things as players can block your view on things.
Most of the fouls he called were correct. On occasion he kept the cards in his pocket but I think that by the way he was doing his job he made the players clear that he was the boss on the field. He didn’t fall for any arguments from the players and did what he thought was correct.
When my MOTM came I must confess I had a difficult job. I got rather a few messages on my phone and I must say looking at the game and typing a match report is difficult but also answering in message form what went wrong was asking a lot for me at the moment. But this was a big mistake from the ref. And I think within seconds he knew it himself. But once you have blown the whistle nothing can be done any more.
Those are the moments that as a ref you hope that somewhere on the pitch a big gap will appear and you can step in to this gap and just disappear. Mostly the gap doesn’t come. And no one better than another ref can understand what it’s like. I must say I have never done something like this but I do remember that I also have made mistakes (certainly at the start of my career) which still make me blush when I think of it. So for a ref in the EPL with all those cameras it is double embarrassment. But he will get over it. I think he has come over bigger hurdles in his live.
So a bad mistake but he regained control of himself for the rest of the game and this also is the mark of a good ref and a good day. It can happen to anyone, no ref is safe from making silly mistakes. But if for the rest of the game you have done a good game this will not affect you much in total.
And when you have reached a cup final, even if it is just the Carling cup final, even this untold ref can be said to be in a very forgiven mood. How is the old idiom: let those who are without sin, throw the first stone? I think this mistake is not as bad as the not given penalties and the given penalties we have seen in favour of United this season. Once again.
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