You’ve got a Friend, Mr Gomes

It is unlikely that the excellent Carole King had a refereeing performance decades into the future in mind when she wrote the song. But Colin Randall wonders whether Heurelho Gomes enjoyed a huge slice of luck today, courtesy of the man in black, Kevin Friend, as Sunderland slumped to a barely deserved defeat …

IN the objective, sportsmanlike opinion of those in the south stand corner of White Hart Lane, it was clear that the turning point of today’s game came immediately after Heurelho Gomes charged out of goal to challenge Darren Bent, who was clean through.

He’d got away with it in the first half but Kevin Friend had no choice this time but to award a penalty. And a red card surely? No, Mr Friend deemed a yellow to be sufficient and a man who arguably should not even have been in a position to watch the kick being taken made a good save. Followed by two or three other crucial saves as Sunderland pressed for an equaliser to the first half goal.

Perhaps Match of the Day will rule he was right on each shout, if for example Bent was heading away from goal when fouled, and that the linesman inflicted no injustice to SAFC in failing to flag for offside when Robbie Keane scored the first (at least two SAFC views I have seen say it was marginally onside).

Mr Friend will have to forgive an outbreak of partisan commentary, however, and accept that Sunderland supporters left the ground feeling he had given precious little to their team, and quite a lot of benefit of the doubt to Spurs. Would an identical Craig Gordon challenge on Defoe have resulted in anything other than a sending off?

Let us put this as neutrally as we can: Sunderland were by far the better side for huge parts of the game. Only just before the second goal, a cracker from Huddlestone, and just afterwards did we look remotely on the ropes.

Reid saw a great, audacious lob come back off the woodwork after leaving Gomes utterly beaten; half chances came galore in the second half. Usually it was Gomes who stood in our way, when it ought to have been up to Alnwick as substitute in a 10-man side.

But for all our pretty play, we lacked punch and Spurs, when it counted, didn’t. And we were left nursing the outrageous thought that they had Kevin watching over them. “Best ref money can buy,” wrote a Spurs-supporting pal. No, he just had a poor game and we paid the price. And if MOTD does prove all that wrong, we’ll eat our words …

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19 thoughts on “You’ve got a Friend, Mr Gomes”

  1. As to one-on-one with keepers forget Bent/Gomes and concentrate on Defoe/Gordon.

    Sorry Mr.Shearer it wasn’t a legitimate challenge.

    Defoe left his foot in and was late. If Gordon hadn’t taken a whack to his arm (now broken) he would have had his head kicked off. Very cynical and nothing borderline about it.

  2. Considering it wasn’t even a penalty in the first place you can feck right off and get back to eating black pudding and shagging ya sister.

  3. Love being told to grow up by Spurs fans who are renowned in the game for moaning about everything from dodgy pasta to dodgy refs. I’ve just watched MotD and he probably called it right; penalty and yellow for foul.
    Still, we can bask in the moral superiority that Spurs usually reserve for themselves.

  4. just watched it again on MOTD – clear now that it was a dive. Ok – Spurs didn’t play well, but got better once we had a proper formation when Kranjcar came on. Harry – just leave Robbie on the bench – please……….

  5. You silly sods! Watch the replays before making incorrect statements! It was a blatant dive from Bent! Blatant. Yes Sunderland played well today but thats the way football goes. Dont blame it on a penalty that never should have been. grow up.

  6. I am a Spurs supporter & must say that Sunderland are also a big club with big ambitions. we got the slice of luck today that we have been missing. But i think steve Bruce was watching another game. Bent took the easy way down(i have seen the highlights) & the Keane goal looks OK(but a tight one). Sundarland played pretty football without a killer punch. Both teams need to improve if they are to realise their dreams as it gets harder with every game as the pressure mounts. Somedays u have to eat the bear!

  7. Seen it again and Bent dived. Justice was done. He was always going to miss the penalty anyway. He is totally flaky. Cannot hack it at a big club, but ideal for Sunderland

  8. just read ‘reid hit an unstoppable 35 yard shot that beat gomes but hit the post’ which,if you watch the replay,looks like had it beengoing inside the post,gomes would have had it covered! world class keeper.hail the octopus!!

  9. “And if MOTD does prove all that wrong, we’ll eat our words …”

    Looking forward to lots of humble pie after M.O.T.D.

  10. Watching from the West Stand, I wasn’t sure, but having looked at the video, it is clear that Bent dived. Justice was done when the penalty was saved, and it is a real shame that Gomes was booked.

  11. It was karma pal. Bent is a cheating c*nt that’s why the ref didn’t send off gomes and bent missed. In life, sometimes still, cheats do not prosper.

  12. Colin, I’m afraid you should have gone to Specsavers. That was never a penalty, as I’m sure Match of the Day tonight will say. And justice was done when Bent’s effort was saved. It would never have been a red card either, because it has to be denying “AN OBVIOUS goalscoring opportunity”. Bent was going away from goal and it’s doubtful he would have reached the ball anyway . To be fair, Spurs played poorly for an hour and Sunderland were the better team. But when ‘Arry finally realised his error and put Krancjar on Spurs looked the better side for the last half hour.

  13. Thinking about it, if Gomes had been sent off and the penalty scored I would have been furious with the referee. So apart from an obligatory card that the ref felt he had to show for some reason, he actually was closer to being exactly correct than wrong in any way. Bent going down so early could even be construed as a dive and blatant attempt to blag the penalty anyway, but he got it and fluffed it. End of story really.
    In truth Spurs weren’t themselves without Modric & Lennon and were poor (we were better against Stoke and lost) and so all it comes down to is a harsh lesson for Sunderland who despite playing well are responsible for their own problems really for not making the superiority count for anything, before the ref even comes into it.

  14. watch the replay and you will clearly see not only was bent going away from goal,he pokes the ball forwards and blatently dives. fact.

  15. At the point of contact Bent was already going down, quite a bit before any challenge was made and so it instantly wasn’t a goal scoring chance, because if Gomes hadn’t touched him Bent would have been on the floor anyway, so Gomes fouled a man already on the deck with the ball going away from goal. It would have been impossible to score if Gomes hadn’t touched him, so end of.
    Infact it shouldn’t have even been a yellow card as whilst it was a foul if contact was made, it wasn’t a goal scoring chance with the striker halfway to the floor at the moment of contact. If it had been a goal scoring chance then it should have been a red, and infact a yellow card should have never come into it. It was a foul but a genuine challenge and so not malicious or wrong one to make, a foul fine, a penalty fine, but in these circumstances no card was needed whatsoever.
    It was a poor penalty anyway and should have been scored, and so it’s easy to focus on Gomes being on the field or whatever but the truth is Bent missed with a crap penalty that many keepers would have saved and he is responsible, not the referee.

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