Paying the penalty?

Pat Miller, the latest partially sighted referee to grace the City Ground..

Pat Miller, the latest partially sighted referee to grace the City Ground..

I didn’t make any comment in yesterday’s match report, because I wasn’t very well sighted of the incidents.  But yet again I spotted a couple of incidents in the penalty area of our opposition which I wondered perhaps why we weren’t awarded a spot kick.  And it’s not exactly been the first time this season.  Just what exactly do we have to do to be awarded a penalty kick?  We’ve not had one at all yet this season – and it’s not like we’ve been without decent shouts for them either!

Without looking up the numbers, we’ve conceded a fair few – some of which were dubious, some of which were undoubtedly deserved.  We have also had ‘getting away with it’ moments, most notably Breckin’s rather obvious shove on Kris ‘fatboy’ Commons during the Derby game.  But generally, we seem to be getting somewhat short-changed by referees in this regard, that said, 90% of the fouls committed by Blackpool players yesterday were generally ignored by the referee, so it would’ve been a miracle if he’d broken the cycle!

Of course, these things happen.  We went through that rather odd opening season where we got given loads of penalties but missed them (oddly none of them costing us any points), I think that was Smoulderwood’s first season.  But it does seem strange.  Of course, there’s a strong argument that we don’t get into dangerous areas in the penalty area often enough, which bears out with the statistics of not being awarded any.  Perhaps we just don’t have as many incidents occurring sufficient for the myopic match officials to spot.

Sheffield United are well into double-figures for penalties this season already; clearly they usually play with more attacking than they did in their turgid (yet still winning!) performance at the City Ground this week.  The disparity is pretty vast; and whilst I think we’d all agree we’d like to see Forest attacking the penalty area more, I refuse to believe that Blackwell’s bunch of negative buggers do so as significantly more often than us to explain away the disparity between the number of penalties we’ve been awarded respectively.

We’re now half way through the season, and let’s be honest – quite often we’ve bemoaned our lack of luck (to a point where it’s become infuriating as an excuse) – and frankly, the calibre of refereeing is definitely part of this problem.  I honestly think the standard of officiating was generally better in League One than it has been this season so far.  To say we’ve seen the likes of Thornhill and McGugan pick up red cards for very little, yet defenders left free to boots Tyson all over the pitch is infuriating.

The penalty count I suppose is really the tip of the iceberg; but surely it must be unusual for a team not to have had at least one when half way into a league campaign?