Cully’s verdict on first five games, refs... and red cards
- Credit: Ian Burt
Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse can examine the minutiae of a game, thanks to some snazzy technology and the addition of a couple of staff with the expertise to present it all.
But there are some things the naked eye – especially one with decades of experience on his side - can see without the aid of technology.
Inconsistent referees, ill-disciplined players and a plain-old acceptance of one team being better than the other: welcome to the National League, 2020-21.
On refs, Culverhouse believes his side have been on the wrong end of some ‘unfortunate’ decisions
On discipline, he says Rory McAuley is ‘gutted’ at his red card at Weymouth
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Lynn began this first ever season in the National League with four points from two games, but have since lost three in a row. It should come as no surprise, but after heavy defeats at Solihull Moors and at home to Boreham Wood, last weekend’s trip to fellow promoted side Weymouth at least gave Lynn some parity, which is why the way defeat was snatched from the jaws of a possible victory was so frustrating. At 1-1 Lynn were in the driving seat, playing well, controlling the game – until a missed penalty by Adam Marriott and then Rory McAuley’s second yellow was followed by a penalty for the hosts for a dubious handball against Ross Barrows – the sort of handball that is creating adverse publicity at all levels of the game.
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Culverhouse takes up the story so far...
“I only saw one side winning the game and that was us. I think if you look back at all five games, I think we started off against Yeovil brilliantly, to play the way we did against a good side, and I was proud of them that day,
“We carried on where we left off at Maidenhead, and I thought we were excellent at Maidenhead, really stamped our game on it.
“Then we came up against two really good sides and we look back and analyse those two and it was two learning games for us because the way Solihull set up and the structure and the way they moved and their ruthlessness and how they took their chances was something we have to learn.
“Then Boreham Wood, the way they got about us, especially first period, was a real eye opener for us because they nullified our game and we got embroiled in their type of game which we have got to be better at, and they are both learning curves.
“So to come back from those two big defeats and the way we did at Weymouth I was so proud of them, I really was, and then we had two defining moments of the game.
“The penalty miss, I think that was a big turning point, and obviously the sending off was another one as well. But two defining moments that were down to us. We were in control of that. If we take the penalty I think we go on to win the game, comfortably, and if we have 11 on the pitch I think we still win the game.”
The reference is to McAuley, who talked himself into the referee’s notebook once, and then followed it up late on after an altercation with a home player.
“He was obviously gutted afterwards as we all were,” said Culverhouse. “He is one of our most experienced ones, and he wears his heart on his sleeve and he has admitted he plays on the edge and I think he has just toppled over here, so it is a big learning curve for him, and he will learn. But being that experienced you are looking for him to be a leader and stick the team together, so that was a little bit disappointing.”
It was successive red cards games for Lynn, after Jamar Loza’s dismissal against Boreham Wood for two yellows which still rankle - as does the penalty decision against Ross Barrows at Weymouth. Indiscipline on the camp is not a concern.
“No. I personally think I am looking at the officials, and I will probably get told off for saying it, but I thought the two Jamar Loza ones were absolutely ridiculous – and we even got reported after the game for surrounding the ref. So their player kicks one of our players (Dayle Southwell) and we get reported. I think that’s mask of how inept the performance was of the referee and I thought on Saturday I didn’t think he was particularly good either.
“This law of the ball hitting the hand - I think the art of defending has gone out of the window. It is not worth shooting at goal now, you might as well shoot at someone and hit their hand and everyone appeals, because how are supposed to get out of the way from me to you is ridiculous. Ross Barrows said it hit him in the face. The linesman was watching it, didn’t even flag, and the referee whose vision was obscured went on the shout. We had one in the first half and we appealed, and he said it was too close.
“So we are on the edge of a couple at the moment. Everyone says it is swings and roundabouts and it will even itself out but I will wait to see on that one.”