Middle's gripe over man in the middle

ACHILLES manager Alan Middle has had words with Suffolk Football Association over the appointment of referees for cup matches in the county.Middle's side were winning their Suffolk Senior Cup second round game at Lakenheath 3-2 with seven minutes to go when the match was abandoned after it took 20 minutes to attend to an injured player.

Elvin King

ACHILLES manager Alan Middle has had words with Suffolk Football Association over the appointment of referees for cup matches in the county.

Middle's side were winning their Suffolk Senior Cup second round game at Lakenheath 3-2 with seven minutes to go when the match was abandoned after it took 20 minutes to attend to an injured player.

In the 'replay' last weekend, Lakenheath won 7-1.


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This has left a sour taste in the mouth as far as SIL Achilles are concerned with their frustration heightened by the enjoyment they experienced when playing in the final of the Suffolk Junior Cup at Portman Road last April.

“Our Portman Road dreams are over this season,” said Middle, who stressed that he had no complaints over Saturday's result.

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“Lakenheath were the better side at the weekend and there is no doubt they deserved their win.

“But I do have a gripe over the appointment of a 'local' referee for the first game.

“It would have been nice if he had been a bit stronger and insisted that the first match was completed.

“Our player Austen King dislocated his elbow and we did not want to move him as he was in a great deal of pain.

“It was 20 minutes before Austen was removed from the pitch, but there was still time to finish the game.

“There was still enough light, and if we had gone into extra time we would still have been playing.

“But the nets were being taken down and the referee decided to call a halt. Why didn't he play out the seven minutes and if Lakenheath had equalised then call a halt?

“The FA say it is their policy to appoint geographically, but I would like them to reconsider and not appoint someone on first name terms with home players.

“Perhaps we should have lifted Austen off the field straight away.”

King is still in plaster and was unavailable for last Saturday's second 100-mile round trip for Achilles from Ipswich to Lakenheath.

“I had a feeling a defeat was on the cards,” added Middle. “Once Lakenheath scored a couple of goals our appetite drained.

“We asked for a change of referee on Saturday and got it. Good luck to Lakenheath in the next round even though we thought we had the game won in the original match.”

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