North Stander: ‘The most infuriating refereeing display since 1975 cup semi-final’

Town manager Paul Lambert was restrained in his criticism of referee Keith Stroud. Picture: STEVE W

Town manager Paul Lambert was restrained in his criticism of referee Keith Stroud. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

That has to be the most infuriating and perplexing refereeing display I have witnessed at an Ipswich Town match since Clive Thomas in the infamous 1975 FA Cup semi-final, writes North Stander Terry Hunt.

Alan Judge has been brilliant for Town - but will he stay on? Terry Hunt fears not. Picture: STEVE W

Alan Judge has been brilliant for Town - but will he stay on? Terry Hunt fears not. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

I know, I know – we’re not being relegated because of Keith Stroud, but his bizarre decision-making took the gloss off what was otherwise another encouraging performance from the home team.

The disallowed Jon Nolan goal was just the warm-up for Stroud’s biggest gaffe when he somehow missed the absolute stonewall penalty offence on Kayden Jackson in injury time.

That happened right in front of me, and how Stroud and his assistant both failed to see such an obvious foul is beyond me. Mind you, Forest also had reason to feel aggrieved when Stroud and the linesman ruled out a perfectly good Daryl Murphy goal.

I’d said on the way to the ground that a Murphy goal was written in the stars, the way things have been going for us. But Mr. Stroud’s decision made sure the inevitable was averted.

MORE: Lambert on ref Stroud’s showing

His performance was summed up when he awarded Ipswich a corner and then immediately blew for full-time – apparently ignoring the time he should have added for Toto Nsiala coming on just seconds earlier.

Mr. Stroud is certainly our least favourite referee, after his performance at Villa Park earlier this season, when he failed to award a penalty when a home defender cleared Collin Quaner’s goalbound shot using his arm. In the same game, he awarded the softest of spot-kicks against Alan Judge.

Most Read

I thought Paul Lambert showed admirable restraint after the game when asked about Stroud’s performance, and he obviously stayed in control of his emotions when speaking to the referee on the pitch after the game.

For younger readers, I’ll explain my reference to Clive Thomas and the 1975 FA Cup semi-final replay against West Ham at Stamford Bridge. Thomas disallowed two ‘goals’ from midfielder Bryan Hamilton which Town fans to this day maintain were perfectly legitimate.

Two years later, after Hamilton had moved to Everton, Thomas ruled out another ‘goal’ from the Irishman for handball, when the ball had clearly gone in off his chest. That was in an FA Cup semi against Liverpool, no,less.

MORE: Town linked with Tranmere striker I said earlier, we’re not going down because of Keith Stroud. Confirmation of our relegation is only a few weeks away now, although the vast majority accepted the inevitable some time ago.

Saturday’s game was a continuation of what we’ve seen recently. Some really easy on the eye football, chances being created – and mostly missed, sadly – and a fantastic atmosphere, whether we’re home or away.

The build-up to Quaner’s goal was great stuff, and if only Nolan had directed his header between the posts we would have been celebrating a wonder goal, inspired by Alan Judge.

Despite the grim league table, there’s a huge amount of positivity around the club, and among the fans. Not surprisingly, given recent performances. Just in the last week, we’ve more than matched three teams with genuine play-off hopes.

But let’s not get too carried away. Our best three players are Matt Pennington, Trevoh Chalobah, and Alan Judge. Yes, two loanees and a short-term contract. Pennington and Chalobah certainly won’t be here next season.

Will Judge stay? I really hope so, because he’s clearly a class act. But I fear that, in all likelihood, we are simply getting him back to speed for a Championship side to benefit next season.

MORE: Andy Warren’s Sunday Snap

I’m sure Judge is enjoying his football here, but he will certainly attract interest from Championship clubs, who will offer far bigger pay deals than us. Put yourself in his position: However much you enjoy your job, if someone comes along offering to double or even treble your salary, what would you do?

So, there will be a huge rebuilding job for Lambert to do in the summer. There are a batch of promising youngsters, and he’s made a good start with Chambers signing on the dotted line for another two years.

There will no doubt be many more comings and goings in the next few months. I’ll be fascinated to see our starting line-up for our first game in the third tier for 62 years!

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter