Jewell: Referee Made the Right Decision
Saturday, 11th Feb 2012 16:47
Boss Paul Jewell felt that referee Dean Whitestone made the right decision to abandon Town’s game against Middlesbrough with conditions becoming dangerous, Blues skipper Ibrahima Sonko having suffered a cracked rib. The Town manager felt the pitch was playable at the start but got worse as the 37 minutes progressed.
Jewell said: “You’ve all got to play in bad conditions but when they become dangerous, as they were out there, to be honest, it becomes a bit of a farce.
“I fully understand supporters’ frustrations but as a football match it was becoming more and more of a lottery as every minute went on.
“Sonko’s cracked a rib there. If the pitch hadn’t been in that condition that probably wouldn’t have happened.
“We were playing well, no doubt about it, we were the better side. We adapted to the conditions well but the last thing you want to do is get any more injuries or lose a game due to the conditions of the pitch.”
Asked whether the referee was wrong to start the game in the first place the Liverpudlian said the surface had been fine earlier in the day: “It was a difficult one because we were here at 10 o’clock this morning and we had the balloon on the pitch, it was perfect, there wasn’t a problem with it.
“But when they took that off at about 1 o’clock, or 1.30, the weather gets into it. When I went out on to it was OK, a bit crusty, but it really was getting a bit tough, the linesman was running the line three yards on to the pitch.
“It was a right anti-climax and I feel really sorry for the supporters both of Ipswich and Middlesbrough, who had come an awful long way, but one of our players has been injured and I think that’s down to the conditions and I didn’t need any more of that.”
Jewell says Sonko’s injury played some part in the abandonment: “I think that probably came into the thinking because they’re in contact and the fourth official had relayed to him that he’d heard our physio say that he thought Sonko had cracked a rib due to his fall, which will have to be confirmed.
“A lot of the pitch was fine, that’s the frustrating thing about it, but you saw Emmanuel-Thomas slip over into the hoardings in the first couple of minutes. It’s really horrible way to end a Saturday afternoon.
“From mine and Tony Mowbray’s perspective we both wanted to see a decent football match. We were playing quite well and we were the better team.”
Earlier in the day he felt there was little question that the game would go ahead: “Me and Tony were here at 10 o’clock this morning and I didn’t think it was in doubt.
“I got a phone call to say there was a pitch inspection at 11.15 and the referee was coming to look at the pitch but it was lovely and warm under there, it was fine. As the afternoon has gone on, you could feel how cold it’s got and it’s become unplayable.
“At 10’o clock it was fine. There was only one concern, the far side, not the side we were on but the far side.
“But we got the heaters on that and that wasn’t a problem. The problem was this side, by the dugouts, where there’s a six or seven-yard strip down the pitch. I think Tony was happy at 10’o clock, I think they were less happy when it started.”
He admits that if his side had been in front when the decision was taken he might have been less pleased: “If you look back to the Leicester game last year, if it had been 0-0 at half-time, the game would have been abandoned.
“If we had scored, it would have been hard to convince me to call it off and the other way around. The referee is in an impossible position really.
“We wanted to carry on, but we don’t want to carry on and get beaten by the pitch or get another injury because of it. I know it’s horrible for the supporters and everyone connected with football but I think probably the right decision was made.
“I feel flat, I’m usually ranting and raving at this time, so it’s quite nice to be calm. We’re disappointed. We’ll be in tomorrow because we’ve got a game on Tuesday.”
Jewell says he expects Sonko to miss Tuesday’s game at Portsmouth and confirmed that he is looking for loan cover at centre-half: “It’s looking that way. We don’t know definitely but that’s what the physio’s thinks he’s done so he’ll be away to the hospital to get an x-ray.
“We were looking to bring people in anyway but that really leaves us stretched at the back anyway.”
Photo: Action Images
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