Baffling! Game off with TWO minutes left

WHEN it comes to ridiculous refereeing decisions they don't come much dafter than Matthew McLaughlin's decision to abandon this cup tie with two minutes to go.

Derek Davis

FA Youth Cup 5th round.

Ipswich Town 0 Watford 0 (abandoned after 88 minutes)

WHEN it comes to ridiculous refereeing decisions they don't come much dafter than Matthew McLaughlin's decision to abandon this cup tie with two minutes to go.


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The 469 crowd at Portman Road were left baffled by what seemed a bizarre decision to call the game off with so little time left on the clock.

Although McLaughlin refused to comment publically after the match he told both captains that he was concerned about player safety and that is why he took the ball and walked off.

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Both sets of players wanted to continue the game even though the official had already warned both benches he would not be playing extra time.

Watford will have more grounds to complain as the decision to abandon the match means the game will be played against at Portman Road on a date to be announced.

If the match had been completed the 90 minutes it would have meant a replay at Watford's Vicarage Road.

The kick off was delayed 10 minutes due to the teaming rain and to allow fans entry while ground-staff swept away the surface water from the Portman Road pitch.

The Blues had gone to a lot of effort and expense to ensure the game went ahead and the playing surface was a credit to groundsman Alan Ferguson and his staff.

While the pitch understandably got heavier and slowed the ball in places the players coped well and even with a number of sliding tackles going in it was a competitive match without any bad tackles.

Town had the better of the first half and Billy Clark hit a free kick not far over bar early on and hit a long range shot that also dipped over.

Despite the difficult conditions that both teams coped with well, Bermudan international Reggie Lambe tried to brighten things up with a dazzling run from the halfway line but was rewarded with just a corner.

Lambe forced keeper Jonathan North into making a good save but Ronan Murray's follow up was blocked.

Town were forced to defend in the latter stages of the first half with keeper Lewis Ward somehow managing to claw away a clever chip from the lively Hornets winger Pietro Mingoia.

Centre half Tom Eastman, called into the starting line up in place of Paul Watson at the last minute, stood out as he blocked and headed away much of Watford's attacks.

Marvin Sordell did tuck the ball away for Watford 10minutes after the break but the referee ruled he had fouled in the build up.

Murray skied a decent chance when Wickham pulled the ball back and had a header taken at the second attempt from a Clark free kick.

North parried another Wickham effort and this time Murray's follow up was blocked. Town survived a mini-barrage from Watford after a reshuffle and Seb Dunbar put in some vital tackles.

But, despite the efforts of both sets of players they have to go through it all again - hopefully though in better conditions.

Ipswich Town: Ward, Hyam, Dunbar, Daniels (Clemo, 67) Eastman, Ainsley, Clark, Cawley, Wickham, Murray, Lambe: Subs not used: McLoughlin, Griffiths, Watson Brandon.

Watford: North, Hodson, Lavers (Yiadom, 79) Brooks, Kiernan, Oshodi, Gibson, Penny, Sordell (Massey, 57) Whichelow, Mingoia: Subs not used: Otshudi, Antal, Angus.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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