‘There must be a voodoo doll!’ – Lambert’s reaction after Ipswich exit FA Cup following yet more bad officiating
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert joked ‘there must be a voodoo doll somewhere’ after yet more bad decisions from the officials saw his side exit FA Cup to Portsmouth.
A much-changed Blues side were 2-0 down to the unchanged visitors inside 10 minutes, courtesy of quickfire goals from Ronan Curtis and Tom Naylor, but Jon Nolan scored just before the break and Ipswich then upped the tempo after the break, deservedly equalising through James Norwood’s cool finish.
Portsmouth’s winner came in the 11th minute, Sean Raggett stabbing home on the goalline from a clear offside position. Ipswich’s staff and players were left incensed at the final whistle, the Blues having also seen a stonewall penalty turned down in the first half when Oli Hawkins had his shirt tugged in the box.
It’s the third time in five games that Town have had big refereeing calls go against them, with Lambert having voiced his frustrations following defeats at Lincoln and Sunderland too.
“I’m just tempted to say ‘move on’ – you should just take my last interview because it’s incredible,” said Lambert. “I’m smiling because I can’t believe it. There must be a voodoo doll somewhere. Somebody has done something!
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“I mean... dear oh dear. What do you say about the offside?! He actually put it in (on the goalline) and there’s nobody there!
“And the penalty! Honestly, Gavin Hastings would be proud of that tackle.
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“Listen, the things the linesman said afterwards when I spoke to him. Wow! Listen, they’ve made the call and I’m in enough bother as it is. *Laughs* It’s just incredible, it really is. Incredible.”
Asked what the lineman had said, Lambert replied: “It doesn’t really matter. It was just bizarre how they gave it. I just can’t believe what has happened over the last few weeks. I’m fed up of ringing Mike Jones (head of the referees) but I might just give him another call. Just to say hello! I might as well because I’m never off the phone to him. I need to get it off my chest.
“I’ve got myself into bother anyway, but I just cannot believe what is happening here. How can they get these sort of decisions wrong?”
Lambert, who is already set to face a disciplinary panel over his comments which followed the recent 1-0 loss at Lincoln, continued: “Every time I’ve spoken to Mike Jones he’s agreed with me about all the decisions that have gone against us – both Lincoln and Sunderland – and I’m sure he’ll be agreeing with me again today.”
Will these sort of decisions even themselves out for Ipswich over the long run?
“You hope so,” said Lambert. “I just don’t know how they get them wrong. He’s (the linesman) looking right across the line. The referee is there and he sees who touches it in.
“The penalty... the linesman is looking right across the line. It’s incredible.”
On his side’s response to going 2-0 down, the Blues boss said: “Listen, dear of dear, we were really good. The football we are playing, I love watching it. Yeah we’ve got a lot of decisions going against us at the minute, but football wise we’re looking really good.
“They kept the same team, we changed a lot of players because we had a few carrying things that we couldn’t take risks with. The way we played second half was excellent. All credit to them.”
Ipswich exiting the cup means, as it stands, they’ll have a free weekend at the end of November. That could prove to be a blessing given how busy the schedule is.
“I never go into games not wanting to win,” said Lambert. “We always want to win. But what can I do when those sort of things happen? It’s there for everybody to see. I don’t know... I really don’t know.
“I thought we were in the ascendancy, we looked really good second half and were trying to win it. Portsmouth are a really good side and good luck to them in the second round. But... that was incredible.”
Norwood, making an early comeback from a hamstring injury, looked lively when he came on and took his goal well. He was holding his hamstring during extra-time though and there were discussion between him and the coaching staff as to whether he should come off.
“He tired,” said Lambert. “I think the hamstring was taking cramp, the other one (not the one that he’s just been injured with). He needs a run of games, but that will do him the world of good. He’s been out for several weeks and only done wee bits of training. He was lively today though and it was a good goal.
“I’d have taken him off, but he said he was alright and you have to trust him.”
On the performance of midfielder Brett McGavin, the Blues boss said: “He started slow, because he was finding his feet, but then he grew into it and did really, really well. He’s a really good passer of the ball and as the game grew he got stronger and stronger. I’m happy with him.”
Town now travel to Crawley on Tuesday night for their final EFL Trophy group game.
Asked if he’ll field a young side, Lambert said: “We have to. We’ve played Saturday-Tuesday for a long time. It will be good to se the younger ones play and see if they can replicate the moves that we look for.”