The refereeing standard in the EFL is something that has been an occurring problem. At the same time, it’s something of a sensitive subject because they, of course, have a hard job to do, blah blah blah.
I’m sure most have seen the incident regarding Andy Barcham last week when he was awarded a free-kick for being fouled five metres into the box. Well, on Saturday it got even worse during the Leeds vs Brentford match.
For me, it wasn’t so much bad decisions by referee, Jeremy Simpson, but more the sheer lack of consistency.
It was best summed up by Adam Forshaw who said: “He made it a non-contact sport.”
Marcelo Bielsa I think set this up after his comments in the pre-match press conference.
He ‘hailed’ the referees at this level calling them noble. So naturally, we were in for an absolute howler of an afternoon.
The biggest talking point of the game was the penalty awarded to Brentford for a ‘foul’ on Ollie Watkins.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell slides in on him as he gets the shot away but the cameras clearly show Watkins half-way to the floor before Peacock is even near him.
No one can say Leeds fans aren’t fair. This was made clear when we sang ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ even when giving us a dubious free kick. We can’t sugar-coat these things. You’re either a good ref or a bad ref. On Saturday, Simpson showed he is a bad ref.
The crowd influenced his decisions. I have no doubt about that.
When you have 34,000 fans on your back for 90 minutes you almost don’t want to give a decision because they have reacted to it. That is exactly what happened to him. As a referee, you can’t let that happen and he did.
The next funny incident straight after the penalty was Neal Maupay having the minerals to celebrate in front of the South Stand, provoking them to launch all sorts at him. Again, an incident he should have been booked for. What is funny is that Simpson didn’t do so because he knew he would have to face the south stand to do it. The one good decision he probably made all day.
One man who did lead by example was Pontus Jansson. There have been lingering question marks over his loyalty at times. Saturday showed however what a team-player he is in what was a truly inspiring performance.
Above all else, Pontus went full Pontus in his post-match interview. He proceeds to tell the Sky Sports reporter he feels “shit” and then takes over the interview himself saying “Do you think I should be happy? No chance.” Referring to Simpson’s performance in this case.
Jansson also scored a bullet of a header to level to score late on. The Swede had a lot to do all game despite Simpson doing everything possible to ensure that would be irrelevant.
The most frustrating of the lot, however, was the sending off of Luke Ayling. Amazingly not because he was sent off, because he should have been.
But more because Brentford’s Moses Odubajo was let off for two identical challenges despite also being on a yellow also.
On a positive note, we have reached the international break with injured players hopefully returning after. Moreover, Alioski went a game where most Leeds fans actually rated him. Genuinely. Only the one offside as well, well done Gianni.