Yesterday we saw an episode of quite awful refereeing. Stuart Attwell – the man who had been in the middle of the Reading 'ghost goal' was again the man in charge and this time he has no-one to blame but himself.
It was only his third game since that incident after a long spell on the sidelines. It was clearly his biggest as he took charge of the East Midlands' Derby between Derby County and Nottingham Forest in front of the live SKY TV cameras. He had already harshly sent off Forest's Lewis McGugan in the 74th minute before the real drama unveiled...
We are in injury time and a Derby player crosses a ball into the Forest box - it bounces and hits a Forest player on the arm. The arm is down by his side and made no movement to the ball - it just hit it. No-one appeals and I mean no-one. The ball bobbles up to a Derby player and he heads the ball in for the winner.
However as the ball is looping into the net, the referee blows for a penalty. Terrible decision but it'll get worse for the referee.
The Forest keeper saved the penalty and pushed it out for a corner. The corner comes in and a terrific header is tipped round the post for another corner.
This corner comes in and a Derby player nuts it home and Derby win. However the referee somehow disallows the goal. There was no foul so I have no idea what he saw. No-one has any idea what he saw, no pundits, no commentators, no players and neither manager.
Forest take the free kick quickly and are 2 on 2 before the ref blows play dead as they are going through to score what would of been a winner.
Both managers agreed in the post-match interviews that the penalty wasn't a pen and the goal should've stood in the first instance and that there was no foul at the second disallowed goal.
Attwell is the youngest referee in the Select Group and had only handled five games at Championship level before being given a chance at the top level. As Derby County manager Paul Jewell said 'he's (Attwell) meant to be the best thing since sliced bread' but we all know he isn't. He got the chance because of family ties and it is now plainly clear that he just isn't ready for top level officiating.
If he gets another game in the Premiership this season then quite frankly it will be a disgrace. In all fairness the Championship probably doesn't deserve him either. You might think that I'm being overly harsh but he has had two real clunkers this season, making decisions that he really can't make.
A long time on the sidelines is what should be in his future but I suspect because of who he is and how much they have hyped him, he will be back in the middle within the fortnight.