In the Championship ? Pike has no idea on penalties

Last updated : 13 December 2004 By Tony Scholes
Mike Pike - no idea on penalties
It’s always good to see a referee having a nightmare in a match not involving Burnley, we somehow always think it is just us, and the weekend got off to a flyer with a performance from referee Mike Pike at the West Ham v Leeds game that was nowhere near close to competent.

He was consistent though, he got every single major decision wrong. He incredibly turned down a Leeds claim for a penalty right on half time and did the same in stoppage time right at the end of the game before awarding a joke penalty just a few seconds later.

Three major decisions, and three easy ones to make and he got the lot wrong. David Healy, who had won the penalty that wasn’t, took the spot kick to earn Leeds a point after Luke Chadwick had scored his first goal in over a year to put West Ham in front.

The officials were no better the night after when Rotherham and Sheffield United drew 2-2 at Millmoor. The Blades led 2-0 and scored a perfectly good third goal which would have ensured victory.

Incredibly the assistant flagged for offside and the goal was disallowed and then Chris Swailes and Martin McIntosh both scored for the home side to earn a point.

Keith Hackett needs to start taking a long hard look at some of these incompetent officials, and he shouldn’t be concentrating on the Premiership only. Last week there was all the fuss about the penalty at Palace and yet in our game at Plymouth the goal should clearly not have been allowed as home players encroached in the box.

And what is referee Lee Probert doing? He’s actually stood looking down the line to ensure no one does encroach into the box. Still, it was good this week to see the poor decision hitting some other clubs and I’m sure we won’t lose much sleep over it costing Neil Warnock and the moaning Kevin Blackwell points.

Lee McCulloch - got Wigan's second against Gillingham
If avoiding relegation is our aim then it was very much a good weekend for us. As we picked up three points it took us further away from the bottom clubs with only Rotherham in the bottom six picking up anything.

Gillingham were always going to have a difficult match, even with Stan in as manager, when they travelled to leaders Wigan. A massive 8,000 crowd turned up at the Concrete Jungle to watch the top of the league side win 2-0 with goals from Nathan Ellington and Lee McCulloch.

There were a few more at Pride Park, over 30,000, and it was the home side who won the big east midlands derby. Forest had no answer to Derby on the day, went down 3-0, and Derby were even able to get away with missing a penalty when Ian Taylor blazed high over the bar.

Things are not good at Forest, and David Johnson confirmed that after the game. The substituted player refused to give manager Joe Kinnear any public support in an after match interview and there really does look to be something of a problem in that particular dressing room.

Cardiff are the side hovering just above the bottom three, strange this one because according to Sam Hammam they are the big club in the division who are heading for the Premiership. If this Cardiff side is heading out of our division then it is from where they came just over a year ago.

They held the in form Sunderland until the last quarter of the game but the visitors won it 2-0 in the end with goals from two of their summer signings from clubs in the bottom division, Dean Whitehead and Liam Lawrence.

Sunderland remain third and Wigan, who beat Gillingham, are still top. In between are Ipswich who won a tough game against QPR at Loftus Road.

They went in front through Jason De Vos but within a few minutes trailed 2-1 after two long range efforts from Paul Furlong.

Darren Bent - scored one of the second half goals that won it for Ipswich
Three second half goals from Darren Bent, debutant Darren Currie and Shefki Kuqi gave them an excellent 4-2 win and keeps them hot on the heels of the leaders, just a point behind.

Glenn Hoddle’s Wolves career got underway under a big heavy dark cloud with news breaking that he was in talks with a consortium trying to take over at Spurs. He’s denied it and saw his new side come back from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at Watford, the ground where he scored probably his best ever goal from Spurs.

Pre-season promotion favourites Leicester are doing well, they lost at home again. They have won just three times in the crisp bowl and had no answer to Reading who won a lot more comfortably than the 2-0 scoreline suggests.

Mark McGhee returned to Millwall for the first time with his Brighton side and went home with nothing other than a comprehensive 2-0 defeat. Scott Dobie scored his first home goal for Millwall to give them the lead and Paul Ifill added a third.

There are no hard feelings and McGhee, on that first return to the Den, said hello to Theo Paphitis but we believe that the Millwall chairman didn’t hear him.

When a striker hasn’t scored a goal in ages it must be a relief for him to finally hit the back of the net, even when he hasn’t touched the ball. That was what happened to Ade Akinbiyi whose two goals at the Turf back in September were his last.

Stoke beat Coventry 1-0 at the Windy City on Saturday and Akinbiyi has claimed the goal. What he does actually do is go up to head the ball but completely miss it, nothing new there, and it is in fact an own goal. He continues to claim it.

And to Crewe where I expected Plymouth to be much too big and strong for the home side. Maybe they were but it was Crewe who ran out easy 3-0 winners. That’s four wins and a draw in the last five for Crewe and they are now in the top half of the table.

Gavin Williams - left Yeovil for West Ham
A couple of the clubs have been spending money this week – and no Wigan are not one of them. West Ham paid £250,000 for Yeovil’s young midfielder Gavin Williams but he was unavailable due to serving a suspension having been sent off in his last game for the Somerset club.

Ipswich also spent the same amount on Darren Currie who must have thought his chances of playing at this level were gone. He’s played in the lower leagues for such as Shrewsbury, Barnet and Wycombe but was picked up by Brighton in the summer.

His form at the Withdean in the last few months has been enough to persuade LBJ to use some of the money that should have gone to Ipswich’s creditors to take him to Portman Road.

He made a successful debut too, scoring at QPR on the ground where his Uncle Tony used to play some years ago.

Three other signings this week have all involved goalkeepers going on loan. Birmingham’s Ian Bennett has joined Sheffield United, Robert Burch has moved from Spurs to West Ham and Norwich keeper Paul Gallagher has signed for Gillingham.

Wigan, I can reveal, have signed no one.

All the remaining fixtures up to Christmas are shown below and after next weekend everyone will have played everyone at least once.

The weekend results

Friday 10th December

West Ham 1 Leeds 1

.

Saturday 4th December

Burnley 2 Preston 0

QPR 2 Ipswich 4

Cardiff 0 Sunderland 2

Rotherham 2 Sheffield Utd 2

Crewe 3 Plymouth 0

Stoke 1 Coventry 0

Derby 3 Nott'm Forest 0

Watford 1 Wolves 1

Leicester 0 Reading 2

Wigan 2 Gillingham 0

Millwall 2 Brighton 0

.

The weekend stats

Biggest win

Crewe 3-0 v Plymouth (home)
Derby 3-0 v Nott'm Forest (home)

Total goals scored

31

Player scoring most goals
2

Robbie Blake (Burnley)
Paul Furlong (QPR)
Grzegorz Rasiak (Derby)

Highest Attendance

30,793 - Derby v Nott'm Forest

Lowest Attendance

6,823 - Crewe v Plymouth

Total Yellow Cards

34

Total Red Cards

0

Most cards in a game

9 - Derby v Nott'm Forest

The leading scorers (league only)

16

Dean Ashton (Crewe)

14

Natham Ellington (Wigan)

13

Paul Furlong (QPR)

12

Dave Kitson (Reading)

11

Darren Bent (Ipswich)
Jason Roberts (Wigan)

10

Robbie Blake (Burnley)
Shefki Kuqi (Ipswich)

9

David Healy (Leeds) - 5 with Preston
Danny Webber (Watford)

8

Richard Cresswell (Preston)
Stephen Elliott (Sunderland)
Marlon Harewood (West Ham)
Heidar Helguson (Watford)
Kenny Miller (Wolves)
Grzegorz Rasiak (Derby)
Paul Shaw (Sheff Utd) - 2 with Rotherham
Teddy Sheringham (West Ham)

7

Lee McCulloch (Wigan)

6

Ade Akinbiyi (Stoke)
Carl Cort (Wolves)
Steve Jones (Crewe)
Andy Morrell (Coventry)
Tommy Smith (Derby)
Marcus Stewart (Sunderland)
Paul Wotton (Plymouth)

Fixtures until Christmas

Friday 17th December

Brighton v Stoke

Nott'm Forest v Leicester

Saturday 18th December

Coventry v Watford

Reading v QPR

Gillingham v Rotherham

Sheffield Utd v Cardiff

Plymouth v Derby

Sunderland v Burnley

Preston v West Ham

Wolves v Crewe

Sunday 19th December

Leeds v Millwall

.

Tuesday 21st December

Ipswich v Wigan

.