Date: 8th April 2007 at 2:10pm
Written by:

The Tranmere boss was left irate following referee Ray Olivier’s decision to dismiss first John Mullin – for a diabolical tackle on Claus Jorgensen – then Jason McAteer for kicking out at Jorgensen when he was laying on the floor and then going at it hammer and tongues with ‘Pool gaffer Simon Grayson on the touchline.

‘Some of the decisions were unbelievable. The officials have made all the wrong decisions and cost us very dearly. It was as bad a performance from a referee as I’ve seen.

‘I thought it was harsh on John. If anything it was a yellow card. The reaction of their player didn’t help. John went for the ball, then everyone got round and shoved him. They got the linesman going and I said to the ref that he might as well give him the whistle as he reffed the game more.’

I think it’s unfair for Mr. Moore to lay the blame on the linesman and ‘their player’ – referring to ‘Pool defender Ian Evatt. The view of people in the West stand close to the incident – myself being high up in the Kop – have stated that the original tackle from Mullin was high, on the knee and had Jorgensen’s foot been firmly planted on the turf, his leg could have been seriously injured. For that reason alone, over the ball, dangerous tackle – then squaring up to Ian Evatt – he has to walk. With regards to the linesman reffing the game more, it is their job to relay information to the referee about what they saw – the one in question was right on top of the incident on the West Stand side of the ground and quite rightly conferred with the referee as the ensuing melee went on for a good few minutes.

‘I don’t know what happened with Jason but their manager was bang out of order. We shouldn’t get involved. He said I’d have done the same but I’m not so sure I would. I was more concerned with what was happening with John to see what happened with Jason so until I see the video I can’t comment on it.’

Once again, I think he is totally wrong – obviously my personal opinion, not that of everyone at Vital! But had one of his players received a horrible tackle above the knee when clearing the ball, he would have been as irate as Grayson was. The incident with McAteer was right in front of Moore in the dugout so I don’t see how he didn’t see it in all honesty, but once again, the red card had to be shown for his reaction to Jorgensen when he was lying on the floor – walking over, grabbing his shirt and appearing to put a foot in on his back, again, not the clearest of views from the Kop but a few have mentioned the said kick on our forums.

‘Then at nine men you’re hanging on and hoping you can last half an hour. I’ve got nothing but praise for the lads. They rolled their sleeves up and battled and the longer it went on you started to think they weren’t going to score. But it’s hard when you’ve got nine men.’

With nine men behind the ball – and an injury to David Fox (which appeared to be a knock on the hip) from another bad challenge for a header in the first half – it was hard for ‘Pool to create anything worthwhile in the 30+ minutes that they had the two man advantage. Ian Evatt was the man to supply the killer ball for Andy Morrell to glance a header home and put the ‘Pool fans at ease.

‘We gifted them a goal in the first ten minutes then we fought our way back into it. We got a great start to the second half and I think we would have won the game.

‘We don’t look like we’re going to keep a clean sheet, certainly not if we do what we did with the first goal. Then we had enough players in the box to deal with the second and it was too easy for him to come in and smash it in. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb, climbed it and then all hell breaks loose.’

Tranmere did look the most threatening in attack, with Calvin Zola giving Michael Jackson all sorts of trouble in the air – maybe sometimes a bit to aggressively – which resulted, eventually, in Jackson being replaced by Adrian Forbes – who played right wing back for the majority of the 2nd half when they were down to nine men.

‘As a back four that’s as bad as we’ve defended all season. It just wasn’t right. I think one or two were a little bit nervous and it worries me. If you can’t defend you’re going to be in trouble. We’ve scored two away from home and lost the game. I feel sorry for [Chief Scout] Dave Philpotts. He goes everywhere and gives us a match report, tells us what to do from opposition throw ins, corners and set pieces, but no-one can tell you how to defend when the keeper throws it against their player and he sticks it straight in the net.

It really was a massive error by Gavin Ward who threw the ball out, only for it to come back off Keigan Parker’s back – on the edge of the 18 yard box – and he just smashed it home to embarrass the Tranmere ‘keeper.

‘Calvin took the first goal well and it was nice to see him get the second. I thought it was be great for us to come from behind to win for the first time. We had tremendous support, they came here and got behind us and they see officials spoil the game.’

I would have to agree with the points about how the goals were taken, Lewis Edge was at fault for the second, but as it was only his fourth senior game, and his first start at 1st team level for 18 months I think he can be forgiven for being a bit nervous! However, the referee had a fairly solid game in my opinion. Given his prior history with the ‘Pool – Peter Clarke/Lee Trundle last year ring any bells? – I think he got some decisions bob-on yesterday, but could have punished a few of the heavy-handed tactics from the Tranmere players.

The sending off decisions were correct and he was right to rule out their disallowed goal for a foul on Lewis Edge – which ended up with him lying in his own net!

For a local derby on a bank holiday weekend and with so much at stake, the number of following fans was a disappointment in my opinion.

‘There’s still 15 points and until it’s all over we’ve got to keep going. We’ve still got to believe. Everyone will be going home thinking it’s over, but if that’s the case it wasn’t lost here today. We’ve had the opportunities all season to put ourselves in there and no matter what this game was like we can’t blame officials for being where we are.’

All credit for him not giving up on the playoff race, but with 8 points separating his team and 6th place, it’s going to be a tough ask if they are to clinch 6th place in the last 5 games.