United 0-3 Newshot
Saturday was a day of many firsts. For many involved in the club it was their first political demonstration earlier in the day as United had a healthy attendance at the UN Anti-Racism March. It was Hawraz’s first start in black as the Men's Saturday Team took the field at Glasgow Green, and it was the first time Gerry Quinn has ever missed a penalty. It was the first time many have ever witnessed a referee perform quite so badly but one thing it wasn’t, unfortunately, was United’s first victory over Newshot.
Paul Georgie has had plenty looks of distain in his time. Most of them are probably well-deserved but, sat before the match clad in his customary pink socks and orange sunglasses, armed with his homemade “Tupo Pamoja” placard, the scowl the referee aimed his way while dropping in to obtain team-lines was joked about initially yet telling when United re-entered the dressing room.
The writing was on the wall 15mins in. Mohamed Mna won the race to reach Harry’s clipped ball forward and was clattered by the out-rushing goalkeeper who even handled outside his box in the process - free-kick awarded to Newshot. No reasoning is required when he is the referee, the official proclaimed. United's opponents took the lead soon after and added a second when a player stood offside blocked Fraser’s line of sight, another major action overlooked by referee. When asked if we were playing that rule, he again confirmed only that he was indeed the referee. Kevin worked the Newshot goalkeeper and Joe was inches away from reaching Mna’s threaded pass. United carved out chances but didn’t make good enough use of the ball on a tight, narrow pitch.
All told, the referee’s decisions ruined the match. An elbow on Chris Malone was missed. Bewildering calls were made against both teams. On the park United toiled but their supporters were in fine voice after the demonstration. When one incorrect offside awarded in United’s favour was met with traditionally mocking applause it seemed to prickle the referee's delicate self-confidence. At one point he stopped the match and asked both Chris Malone and Bobby to ask them to be quiet and stop laughing at his decisions. He then booked Chris for pointing out how ridiculous he was allowing the situation to become. That’s entrapment, surely? An opponent had to point that out it was Chris’ second card such was the official’s incompetence. This is amateur football. The referee is the only person paid to be there. Nobody expects Pierluigi Collina to turn up. John Rowbotham would have made a stab at it than this guy. In any match, after so many baffling decisions the referee needs to offer some kind of rational explanation, regardless of right or wrong, to prevent the game falling into chaos. Not so, apparently. All players needed to know here is that he is the referee...
United would have to see out the game with ten players. Newshot added a third goal midway through the second half. United debuts were handed to Ali and Amin who replaced Kevin and Joe in midfield. Nobody knows why United were awarded a penalty with 20mins left. Another terrible decision in all honesty. Gerry’s effort was well struck but the goalkeeper managed to palm it on to the post and it was scrambled clear. Harry, China and Hawraz later all went close to registering a United reply but their day was compounded near the end when it was Ali’s turn to fall victim to the referee’s dim-witted interpretation of events - accused of diving and booked after losing his footing running with the ball.
0-3 it finished. Plenty to boil United’s spuds. Upon blowing the full time whistle, the referee retreated to his happy place and refused to shed any insight on his perspective of events, very disappointing for someone who seemed to strive to have an air of professionalism. Football is supposed to be fun, right? Not with this guy! The two teams meet again in a fortnight’s time in the Thomson’s Trophy semi-final. Both managers agreed after the match that a competent official was required to prevent that game turning into the farce this one descended to.
UNITED: Fraser, Gerry, Paul G, Bobby, Chris M, China, Hawraz, Joe, Kevin, Harry, Mohamed Mna
SUBS: Ali, David P, Amin, Davy T, Neil
Yellow Card: Fraser, Ali, Chris M
Red Card: Chris M
PoTM: Paul G