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Blue tinted optimist
Oct 28, 2003
Cloud cuckoo land

I bloody well am.

Firstly, well done Torquay, and good luck in Div 2.  Maybe we'll see you there in 2005/6.

Those who know me will confirm that it takes a lot for me to get out of my box but today I witnessed some of the most appalling decision making by match officials I have ever seen.  If that had been a crunch game there could well have been a riot.  The lino in front of the West only made one decision all afternoon and that was to flag for offside when we "equalised".  The rest of the time he waited for the ref to announce his decision before agreeing.  The other one wasn't much better, and this was illustrated in the second half when he and the other lino engaged in a little semaphore as flags and arms were being waved in every direction whilst they tried to agree with each other over who to award the throw in to.  Pathetic.

Oh well, the game.  Typical really, after a roller-coaster season it has died out with whimper.  Never mind - there's always August to look forward to.

Torquay were quicker out of the blocks and Southend kept up their traditional handicap football by letting the opponents score twice, the only difference being this time we were 2-0 down after just 11 minutes.  However, I didn't think they were that good a side... we were just a bit unlucky and defended poorly.

After 2 mins the ref and lino made their first **** up of the match which was to set the stall for the remainder of the game.  Wilson had the ball in the left back position and played the ball down the line but it clearly went off Rosenior.  I could hear it from the back of the Family stand.  The ref awarded a Torquay throw and the lino did what he did all game... agreed with him.  From the throw there came a shot which deflected for a corner... from the corner Bramble misjudged his jump, the ball floated over his head, Darryl unsurprisingly stayed rooted to his line and Constantine lost his man.  Result?  A free tap in from 4 yards out.

Torquay were clearly more fired up and it came as no surprise when they made it 2-0 although they were a touch fortunate.  Cort I think had a couple of chances to clear but Lewis Hunt made a superb tackle to block the striker.  Unfortunately the ball ricocheted back into the box for David Graham to stoop and head into the empty net.

Having gone into a 2-0 lead Torquay sat back a bit and let Blues come at them.  Bramble made a nuisance of himself and eventually made a great chance, shooting from the edge of the box straight at the keeper.  The ball bounced off his chest straight to Dudfield, who tucked it away at the second attempt.

It was after this that Blues had the first of their penalty appeals turned down.  The ball was played into the box by Wilson and Bramble went up for it but missed it.  The defender clearly had his arm across his face and the ball struck it and bounced down to be cleared to safety.  About 2500 in the West stand saw it and the lino had a great view but the ref indicated that it was off the chest.  I didn't know someone could get their chest that high but there you go.

Next there came the most blatant penalty I have ever seen.  It made the challenge on Drewe for our penalty against Darlo look borderline.  Dudfield broke into the box and was advancing on goal when he was just totally taken out by the defender.  Scythed, clattered, everything.  Amazingly the ref waved away the appeals after a good 3 or 4 seconds deliberation - which is a bloody long time.  Now he either gives a penalty or he books Lawrie for diving - one or the other.  It was a nailed on, framed, mounted and fully admired penalty if ever I've seen one... but not according to the man in the middle Mr Leake.  Disgraceful.

Neither keeper was tested further in the first half.

Good half time entertainment, raunchy Bluebelles routine (are they old enough to do some of that stuff?) and Brian Wheeler had a shot for the car and put it through the hole on the left, slipping over in the process.

The second half was all Blues really without ever really getting that cutting edge but Torquay had 10 men behind the ball and made it very difficult.  Then, with about 30 mins to go, Jim Corbett hit a shot that the keeper fumbled, the ball fell to Nicolau who's follow up was blocked and then Dudfield tapped it in.  However, the linesman made the only decision on his own all afternoon by flagging for offside.  Now I didn't see the flag go up but my mate said it was very early.  I couldn't see an offside anywhere in that goal but would't mind having another look.

Broughton came on for Jupp with 15 to go and I felt we lost shape and width at that point.  But Drewe did get a chance, shooting and watching the ball hit the defenders arm before being safely gathered by the keeper.  Yet again the aptly named Mr Leake waved away the appeals.  

Finally, with Torquay blatantly wasting time (the keeper in particular - the West stand counted up to 14 on one occasion before he released the ball) the 4th official decides on only 3 mins extra time when 5 or 6 was more realistic and even then he blew up early with more timewasting in the 3 minutes added on!

"You don't know what you're doing, you don't know what you're you're doing..."

So it was not to be.  To finish in 17th was disappointing after the great run since Christmas but hey - we could have gone down and we did finish above Orient.

Roll on next season!



Flahavan - 6.  At fault for first goal and kicking not as assured as it has been... but it was very wet out there.

Jupp - 6.  Hard working and gives us width.  We missed him when he went off as we had no wide players at all then.
Cort - 6.  Had an OK game... no howlers but not particularly commanding either.
Hunt - 7  Fairly well composed and was very unlucky for the second goal.  Didn't do much wrong
Wilson - 4.  Sorry, this bloke is cr*p.  He has to go.  I think this was his last chance to earn a contract but he blew it - thank God!

Constantine - 7.  Made space well, some sublime touches but I wish he'd jump for the ball sometimes.  No real clear cut chances.
Maher - 8 - MOM.  Was everywhere.  Involved in most things but I wish he'd learn to pass forwards a bit more.
Bentley - 7.  Looked good until he got injured.
Nicolau - 6.  Least effective game to date I would say.  Looked uncomfortable in midfield and offered not much.

Bramble - 7.  Slow start but certainly tried to make things happen.  Looked a bit weighty and this has seemed to slow him down a tad.
Dudfield - 7.  Kept trying and chased incessantly.  Scored one and was unlucky not to get a second.


Corbett - 7.  On for Bentley and sat in the middle with Maher.  I thought he was pretty good and his versatility may well earn him another season.
Broughton - 6.  Usual Drewe performance.  Strong, hard working, no goals.
Jenkins - 5.  On for Nicolau late on.  Did he touch the ball?