Marriner all at sea as Newcastle sink Everton

Mackem favours Toon shock! As if our own game hadn’t produced sufficient controversy – however contrived – Malcolm Dawson found reason for disgruntlement elsewhere in the Premier programme. In particular, he berates Andre Marriner for failing to take decisions that would have made the Mags’ task at Goodison even comfier …

There has been much debate on Salut! Sunderland and elsewhere about the circumstances surrounding Lee Cattermole’s sending off at Wigan.

Indeed it sent Pete Sixsmith into paroxysms of apoplexy at his lack of self restraint. But watching the game, I said at the time of the first yellow, that Andre Marriner had made a rod for his own back, giving such a soft booking so early.

And so it proved. A few minutes later Cattermole’s ill timed challenge got him a second yellow, which was deserved, and off he went. In my opinion the first yellow was harsh. Other relatively innocuous challenges also earned cards, while similar ones went unpunished.

One looks to referees for consistency. There was consistency between Marriner and Lee Taylor, who refereed the Birmingham match and heard me making the same comment.

Another game where a soft yellow early on spoiled the match and resulted in a sending off. It may be a false hope to expect different referees to be consistent in the decisions they make, but it shouldn’t be unreasonable to expect each ref to show consistency from game to game.

On Saturday Marriner, the man who booked Cattermole for the slightest of touches in midfield, bottled two far worse challenges.

Now Pete will tell me that Lee Cattermole’s first card was for an accumulation of offences (and he may be right), but there were two incidents deserving of straight reds in the Mags’ match at Goodison.

I expect most of you have seen them and no matter how much you despise those who play in black and white, there is no disputing the evidence. Firstly Fellaini’s elbow and flailing arm only got him a booking. I believe that is a sending off offence. Then Coleman’s challenge on Nolan was as clear cut a penalty as I have seen and as last man it should have given him first dabs at the hot water.

But no! Marriner waved play on.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that taking charge of a football match at any level isn’t easy. Even at kids’ level you aren’t going to get everything right. But surely what an individual ref deems worthy of a card one week he should deem worthy of a card the next.

Anton Ferdinand’s mate, El Haj Diouff earned his side a goal by cynically clattering the keeper to the ground. Not spotted by the referee or his assistants, it looks like he’ll get away with it. West Brom’s third came from a clear foul.

There’s no way anyone will get everything right all of the time. Incidents like those I’ve just mentioned provide talking points.

Until the FA, FIFA or whoever, find a way of reducing human error, they will go on happening. But surely we can expect the men in the middle to apply the rules consistently. On the weekend’s evidence we can’t.

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