I recently asked the question: When Will Phil Brown Go?, & it seems in all actuality I’m no closer to an accurate answer of that question than when I posed it last week. Hull City lost another football match this weekend at Turf Moor to current over-achievers Burnley, 2-0. Two Graham Alexander goals were enough to see off a brave Hull City that will feel slightly cheated by the outcome. My original opinion was that if Hull lost, Brown would be gone Sunday or Monday morning at the latest. It now seems that Brown’s current employment security is not quite as black & white as I first thought (It’s being reported Brown will be in charge of Hull when Stoke City visit the KC Stadium on Sunday).
Enter referee Mike Jones who was back in the Premier League for the first time since his “beach ball bonanza” match a few weeks back. For any who watched the game or caught match highlights, you quickly realized referee Mike Jones did Phil Brown & Hull City no favors what-so-ever. In my opinion, Jones’ decisions did too much to effect the outcome of this game. He got it wrong when it counted, here’s where he failed:
1. Hull City’s Stephen Hunt may or may not have brought down Burnley’s Tyrone Mears inside the box resulting in a spot kick in the 20th minute. Credit to Jones for making a confident decision, I’m just not so sure it was the right decision. Replays are inconclusive at best, but it seems Mears “whiffed” his shot resulting in him loosing his balance. Hunt did make contact with Mears, but for my money, Jones easily could have kept his whistle in his pocket & allowed play to continue. Was Jones influenced by the home support at Turf Moor to award a penalty? Despite protests by Hull players, 38 year old Graham Alexander kept his nerve & slotted home against Matt Duke in goal.
2. Geovanni’s free kick just outside the box that was (in my opinion) wrongfully disallowed in the 67th. Let’s face it, pushing, shoving, nudging & vying for position goes on inside the box moments before a free kick all the time. Yes, from time to time the ref will spot it, stop play & issue a warning or card. But I believe Jones got it wrong for 2 reasons, the players involved in the scuffle did nothing to hinder Burnley’s Brian Jensen in goal, & Jones seemed to have blown the whistle well after Geovanni struck. Too late to disallow an equalizer in my opinion, Jones must know what’s at stake to make a call that bold. Regardless, Hull’s equalizer was not to stand & Geovanni was cautioned for dissent in the fall out.
3. A minute later, Geovanni clumsily fouled Burnley’s Steven Fletcher which resulted in the Hull man being sent off for his second booking. The challenge from Geovanni was a borderline yellow at best. It was a classic case of letting your emotions boil over for Geovanni, the call really could have gone either way. Mike Jones had just disallowed a goal for Geovanni, could he not have given the Brazilian one last final warning? He knew Geovanni’s emotions were running high, why not take his very own controversial decision into consideration & show leniency? Again, I think Jones got this one wrong. With Hull now down to 10 men, a second goal was always going to come from Burnley. Graham Alexander fired a 25-yard blast in the 77th that ended Hull’s chance of earning a much needed away point.
It seems all the close decisions on the day went in Burnley’s favor. Credit to the Clarets who have impressed this season especially at home. They certainly deserved the 3 points for their continuing attack. Much of their success came down the right flank with the pace of Chris Eagles in attack. Jones lack of a solid performance should not take away from the good performance put on by Burnley. In the upcoming weeks, Mike Jones will have to prove himself to FA & Premier League officials or he’ll find himself out of the top-flight quicker than he can say controversial.
As far as Brown’s concerned, he was quoted as saying, “I asked the players for a committed performance & I got one“. Next weekend at home to Stoke City, Brown will need more than commitment to save his job at Hull, he’ll need a little luck & most importantly 3 points.