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Kingstonian 0-3 Hereford United

Just what is it about Hereford? Last April K's went to their place, Gary Patterson got harshly sent off and missed the Trophy Final. So this October, what happens? Another diabolical refereeing display sees two players get their marching orders and the up-turn in form withers and dies.

With Geoff Chapple absent with a tooth abscess there was obviously nobody around to change the team sheet as, for only the second time all season, K's named an unchanged side. Hereford brought with them a fairly good following, considering the Tuesday night factor, and everything looked to be in place for a good game.

Unfortunately, the display of referee Mr. Steve Rubery of Essex denied any of the 833 watching any opportunity to see a good game. Finicky and fussy, he spent the entire evening seemingly on a one-man mission to punish the most innocuous foul he could find. He may have succeeded in that aim, but he certainly didn't succeed in allowing a game of football to proceed.

Before any chance worthy of note had occurred, Mr. Rubery was showing his keenness. A left side cross from Colin Luckett saw Eddie Saunders well forward where he challenged goalkeeper Scott Cooksey. Slight contact led to a free-kick when the chances were that K's would get an effort in on goal. The same occurred at the other end, and so when Ian Wright shot home into the empty net, everybody knew that it would be disallowed.

K's should have drawn first blood, and the chance yet again fell to Sammy Winston. A good ball from Patterson found Eddie Akuamoah on the left. His run ended with a cross to the near post where Winston got in a flicked shot. Cooksey saved, but when the ball fell back to the striker it looked to be odds on that he would score his third of the season. But a poor left footed attempt saw the ball roll into the side netting.

Another slightly physical challenge, this time from Eddie Saunders, was ruled as a foul by the referee and Hereford were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. The K's wall broke around about thirty seconds before the kick was taken and Geoff Pitcher was singled out to receive the yellow card for encroachment. Things turned bad when Michael McIndoe despatched the kick around the wall and past Farrelly with the minimum of fuss to give the visitors the lead.

Eight more minutes ticked by before the second was conceded. A poor kick out by Farrelly - by now requiring a defender to take his goal kicks for him - landed at the feet of Phil Robinson. He passed to Gavin Williams whose cross found Rob Elmes totally unmarked in the middle. The challenge on him was notable only by its absence and so Elmes had the easiest of chances to make it two-nil. Which he did, as bad got badder.

Badder got badder still a few moments later. A cross from the right was heading towards Williams before Marvin Harriott's hand intervened. The ball was destined for the striker's head and so perhaps Harriott did the right thing by palming it away. The referee didn't think so though as he (correctly) awarded the visitors the chance to increase their lead from the spot. The kick was taken by Chris Lane and he placed it right into Farrelly's bottom right hand corner. But the big man did superbly well and managed to flick the ball around the post for a corner kick. Maybe this was the turning point?

Well sadly it proved not to be. A foul by Gary Patterson (which has been described as both "innocuous" and a "potential leg-breaker") was followed immediately by an attempt by a Hereford player to kick Mark Boyce in the head. Bodies piled in on top of each other, and after a few seconds had passed we had the ludicrous situation of a full-scale 22 man brawl just outside the centre circle.

To make matters worse, K's sub Simon Stewart became involved by holding Winston back from doing some damage with his ample frame. A Hereford sub took a dim view of this, so sneaked up behind the K's man, beat him around the head and then retreated back to the bench.

All hell was breaking loose, with every player and the majority of the coaching staff involved. It seems strange then that, after discussion with both linesman, the referee singled out Colin Luckett as the guilty party. He received a red card for kicking and punching, - a charge that he strenuously denies - Hereford got the free-kick and the game continued. But it continued without a player who was far less guilty than the majority of those who remained on the field of play.

This crazy situation actually had the effect of totally ruining the game. From that point on there were appeals from both sides for everything. The referee was clearly out of his depth and some of the players were more than ready to take advantage of that fact.

David Bass almost got into serious trouble when a foul inside the penalty area almost led to him seeing his second yellow card of the evening, but luckily the referee showed some semblance of sanity and issued just a warning.

The second half began with Eddie Akuamoah playing at left-back as K's attempted to get back into the game. Winston shot just wide after Boyce had knocked down a good Patterson cross when he really should have done better.

Another free-kick was awarded to Hereford on the edge of the box, but K's kept this one out - by the skin of their teeth. The first shot hit (rather than was blocked by) Eddie Akuamoah and the follow up was just saved by Farrelly low down to his left.

Further chances for the home side saw a fantastic save by Cooksey when Mark Harris headed a Patterson free-kick at goal and Hereford almost gifted K's a goal when a clearance smacked into a defender only for the rebound to go just over the bar for a corner.

But then badder got baddest of all. Steve Farrelly and Gavin Williams had been having an interesting tussle all night long. Yet nothing had prepared anybody for what happened next. Farrelly had the ball, he kicked out of his hands as Williams challenged. The goalkeeper's kicking momentum saw his leg connect with the striker, who went down like the proverbial sack of spuds. The linesman's flag immediately went up, Mr. Rubery went over to chat, and after what seemed like an eternity, the red card was produced for the second time of the evening.

It took quite a few minutes for the incredulous Farrelly to leave the pitch. The entire K's team protested what seems to have been another ridiculous decision. Some of the home crowd urged the team to walk off en masse in protest at the embarrassing display of refereeing but on they stayed. Richard Hurst finally came on for Marvin Harriott and in the next few moments, two other subs were introduced as K's switched to a 3-3-2 formation.

From this point on the game was nothing more than a waste of time. K's had just about looked to be in the fight at eleven against eleven, but nine against eleven has never produced anything other than a bore. Hurst made a couple of good saves and Junior Kadi went close a couple of times, but the game as a contest was over.

Williams did manage to make it three when he controlled a left wing cross and sent a good volley past Hurst, but by then it was all rather academic. The woman by the tunnel got it right when she whacked the referee with her handbag as he rushed away to a torrent of abuse at the end of the game. He wasn't a cheat, he was just simply incompetent. He showed poor judgement, he was an embarrassment to referees in general, but most importantly of all, he single-handedly ruined what looked to be a good game of football. Do they give refunds out?

Tue 3rd Oct 2000
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Hereford United3
1Steve FarrellySent Off
2Mark Boyce
3Colin LuckettSent Off
4Eddie Saunders
5Marvin HarriottCautioned13
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Sammy WinstonCautioned16
10David BassCautioned14
11Eddie Akuamoah
12Amara Simba
13Richard Hurst5
14Junior Kadi10
15Simon Stewart
16Ronnie Green9
Man of the Match
Gary Patterson
Gary Patterson
Match Report By
Gary Ekins