News and Views

Fulham Match Abandoned As Fog Clears

31 December 2016
By John Wells

A moment of crass stupidity and gross incompetence by referee James Linington ruined an evening's entertainment for thousands of football fans at the Madejski Stadium this evening. Before setting off on my sixty mile journey to this evening's game I took the precaution of checking the weather forecast. The BBC website predicted thick fog around 8.00 p.m. clearing quickly around 9.00 p.m. It would appear referee Linington failed to consider the weather forecast as an indicator of how the weather might change during the course of the game. Regardless of this oversight he allowed the game to begin as the fog rolled in. Conditions worsened as the game progressed, but not sufficiently to warrant abandonment. As half time approached, as predicted, the fog began to lift, and when the second half was due to begin there was little evidence of any fog anywhere - apart from in the space between Mr Linington's ears!

Without bothering to step out onto pitch he decided to abandon the game on the basis of his assistants' opinion that the other side of the pitch was not visible thereby making it difficult to make accurate decisions. (They seemed to be having just as much difficulty spotting incidents, such as a blatant tug on Kermorgant's arm in the penalty area as he moved towards the ball, occurring right under their nose. As far as I was aware the referee should allow the game to continue as long as he is able to see both goals from the centre of the pitch. Had he bothered to check before he made his absurd decision, he would have found visibility more than adequate to see across the pitch as thousands of spectators would verify. The stadium announcer declared the fog to be "worse outside the ground" which made all the more galling as we all queued in perfect visibility to leave the car park which for some reason took much linger that usual. The decision to abandon the game after everyone had purchased their half time refreshment and had settled down in their seats for the second half. As Mr Linington is employed by the Football League they should compensate the spectators (liable due to referee's error!)

In spite of the conditions the first half was keenly contested. Fulham may have had slightly more possession but Reading created the two best chances. McCleary beat the offside trap with a superbly timed run but a poor touch hampered his chances of making the most of the opportunity. He still managed to get his shot away but by then Bettinelli had set himself and turned the ball wide for a corner. McCleary should have scored but he usually finishes more convincingly when he does not have some much time to make his decision about how to beat the 'keeper. There second effort came in stoppage time and was a brilliant solo effort from Harriot who wriggled past lunging defenders to unleash a thunderbolt which Bettinelli saved at full stretch. Sadly he put so much into his shot he appeared to have torn his hamstring and limped off for what looks like being a lengthy lay off.

Both teams played well in spite of being closed down very quickly all over the pitch with Fulham edging control of midfield. Kelly in no way shirked a challenge but was simply overpowered by the Fulham's physical presence. In view of the recent drubbing at Craven Cottage Jaap Stam's team had a much more secure look about them - apart the left side where the visitors seemed to get behind the defence with alarming regularity. (This also happened in the game on Boxing Day.) Also worth noting the absence of Moore in the heavy away defeat was significant. He was excellent again this evening. His full blooded challenge on Aluko was worthy of a Tackle of the Season Award.

It is hard to say which way the result might have gone but it was cracking first half with two very good sides going at each other with some intensity. It promised to be an even better second half but thanks to Mr Linington it did not happen. Fulham looked as good as any team I have seen in this league this season and I am looking forward to the re-arranged fixture whenever that may be. So at the mid-point in the season the Royals find themselves in third place in the table. It looks like being a happy new year for their fans.


Discussion On This Story:

 Royal Ginger

» 30 Dec 2016 21:16

That sucked. The fog was easing. Should have been called at about the 25 minute mark when it was impossible to follow the action.

Funny how they called it just as the players are returning to the pitch when the club's half time tills are nice and full...


» 30 Dec 2016 21:31

AAH 6: couldn't see him
Gunter 6: couldn't see him
Moore 6: couldn't see him
Blackett 6: couldn't see him
VDB 6: couldn't see him
Harriott 6: couldn't see him
Evans 6: Couldn't see him
Williams 6: Couldn't see him
Kelly 6: Couldn't see him
Macca 6: Couldn't see him
Kermit 6: Couldn't see him

 John Madejski's Wallet

» 30 Dec 2016 21:35

Thought we were ok considering the conditions.
If only McCleary had put away that chance from the stunning hold-up/through ball from Kermogant......

Their right winger was ripping us to shreds, f'ck he was fast. But Harriott makes an awful wingback

.....THAT tackle from Joey :lol:


» 30 Dec 2016 21:35

Generous marks!


» 30 Dec 2016 21:35

Guess it has more to do with the tv companies

Linington has gone to the top of my "hanging list'...what a total dick.......could he not've delayed 2nd half kick-off for ten minutes to reasess the improving visibility?....guess he was paid off by Sky or someone.

Regardless of whether the club do the 'right thing' and honour those with tickets free admission for the re-arranged fixture...or not...(remember v Leicester NY day 2003 anybody?), Linigton will not be paying the expenses incurred...nor the effort that fans have made in the (worse fog) to get to the game.

Luckily, I am just a walk away.......if you like the was nice viewing :twisted:

 Winston Smith

» 30 Dec 2016 21:42

30/12/16. Fogmageddon

Never forget, never forgive.

 John Madejski's Wallet

» 30 Dec 2016 21:44

Usually I'm about the last out of the stadium and therefore one of the last out of the dogtrack car park... handily was stood right next to the East Stand gate when the announcement and legged it to the car 8)


» 30 Dec 2016 21:46

Couldn't complain if it had been called off either of the times that he went over to speak to the benches, but the match was perfectly playable at the end of half time. It's an absolute disgrace that the referee didn't come to check.


» 30 Dec 2016 21:50

Disgusting decision but typical of the useless wastes of skin they call "officials" that this league has to offer. They are spineless.

 John Madejski's Wallet

» 30 Dec 2016 21:54

Lets face it, the 'fog' would have got worse again second half as it mostly consisted of the breath/body heat of the fans hitting the cold, damp air..... of course it was going to clear at half time. In the same way the temperature always drops at HT


» 30 Dec 2016 21:54

From where I was sat it was clear the Fulham manager was angling for the abandonment from about 20 mins into the game.
According to Dim on BBCRB the decision was instigated by the 2 assistant refs who were struggling to see across the pitch. But, at half time visibility was vastly improved. Very poor decision.


» 30 Dec 2016 21:57

Was thinking exactly this. The fog lifted when half the fans left their seats. Wouldn't have been surprised if it would have returned as soon as the fans came back.

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