I enjoyed the West Ham / Blackburn game today, as a neutral. There were goals, some red blooded tackling and a couple of contentious decisions to debate.
The first was the own goal ‘credited’ to Samba that put Blackburn 2-0 down. That Dean Ashton was in an offside position is not up for debate. The only question was whether he was interfering with play – he didn’t touch the ball, after all. Yet he was clearly unsettling Samba – and therefore gaining an advantage – and also blocking the view of the goalkeeper.
This got me thinking: The linesman is in the best position to judge if a player is in an offside position. But is he in the best position to determine whether a player is interfering or gaining an advantage? His lateral view probably doesn’t help in this regard. The referee is on top of play and can better make this call.
So how do the officials work together to arbitrate the correct call? The answer is that they can’t easily do this – unless that microphone system is flawless – and certain circumstances fall through the cracks of the law, as we saw today.
Matt Derbyshire’s effort being chalked off was more run of the mill. It was a close call but Derbyshire stayed level throughout. For my money, it should have been 2-1 to Rovers at this point, rather than the other way around. Rough justice for Paul Ince, much to the delight of the Upton Park crowd.