‘The ref cost us the game’ – McKenna’s verdict on 2-2 home draw with Barnsley

Published:
6:29 PM August 27, 2022



Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna has claimed referee Stephen Martin cost his side the win after the 2-2 draw at home to Barnsley this afternoon.

After Will Aitchison’s leaning header canceled out Conor Chaplin’s fine free-kick in the first half, Ipswich regained the lead through 70th-minute Sam Morsy and quickly put the ball back in the net through Marcus Harness.

Man in Black Martin, who has refereed over 100 League games, gave a controversial foul against Harness and Barnsley quickly leveled things thanks to Callum Styles’ header from a corner.

Ipswich pushed hard for a winner in the closing stages but couldn’t find a breakthrough when George Edmundson hit the post, Kane Vincent-Young forced a smart save from keeper Bradley Collins and Sone Aluko’s strike was blocked on the line.

“It’s frustrating,” McKenna said. “I think the main frustration is obvious. The referee’s decision cost us the game, for me.




Referee Stephen Martin controversially disallowed a third Ipswich goal.
– Credit: Steve Waller – stephenwaller.com

“It was a clear goal, it was 3-1, it was what the players and the public deserved from the energy they gave. But we lose the two points on a decision that I thought was really bad and really in tune with the referee’s performance in general I thought he was way too eager to be involved in the game all the way, he wanted to be actively involved, he wanted to make big decisions all the time .

“I thought it was a very good game between two good teams, played in the right spirit and needed to be officiated better to allow the game to flow.

“I think you have to think about it to be honest. It’s the first time I’ve talked about the quality of the refereeing and I don’t want to talk too much. I think they’re all very good guys, we’re talking with them before and after games but I really think they have to look at who is assigned to officiate games here at Portman Road I think it’s a different challenge it’s 25,000 people it’s a intense atmosphere and it takes referees with the experience and personality to come here, stay calm, not get involved and allow the game to flow and not make unnecessarily important decisions.

“We don’t want any help, we don’t want any home decisions, but we want the level of the referee to match the level of everything else. I think we have to see who is appointed to referee our games here at the home. Maybe some of the other clubs in the league would say the same. I think that was a big part of the frustration today and the deciding part of the result.


Marcus Harness reacts after realizing his goal has been ruled out.

Marcus Harness reacts after realizing his goal has been ruled out.
– Credit: Steve Waller – stephenwaller.com

“I haven’t spoken to the referee, to be fair. I don’t know him. I don’t know if we’ve had him before. It’s nothing personal, it’s just his level of performance today and from other things I’ve seen in previous games, it’s got to be a top referee coming here for our games.”

Asked if he felt his side should have been awarded a penalty towards the end of the first half, when Leif Davis got tangled up with Luke Thomas, McKenna said: “I didn’t. It looked like a penalty at the time. I thought there were so many weird decisions there.

“Usually you expect more decisions as a home team. We don’t want them and we don’t ask for them, but that’s how decisions usually go, in my experience, when you’re playing in a big stadium in front Today it was almost like the ref was trying to do the opposite and make big decisions against the home team and against the crowd and maybe he had a reason for that.

“That was the case throughout the game and it was the case for what would have been a game-clinching goal.”

None of Barnsley’s goalscorers had to take off to score headed goals. That must have been part of today’s frustration for McKenna too?


Jack Aitchison celebrates leveling for visitors.

Jack Aitchison celebrates leveling for visitors.
– Credit: Steve Waller – stephenwaller.com

“Absolutely and we have to own this piece,” said the Northern Irishman. “It’s not like us.

“You definitely have to be better on both goals, especially the first one. It’s a second phase ball hanging in the box and you have to be more aggressive to attack the ball, there’s no doubt about it.” I thought we were going to run away with the game. But it was a lack of focus on our part that allowed them this moment.

“Second goal was a bit different. It was a giddy delivery going to their reserve man who was a blocker. If you look back at him I don’t even think he even expected him to vienna, but he planted a fantastic header from maybe 14/15 yards. There are small details that we can improve, after watching him, in our zones. But it was also, you have to say, a great header from a distance. Thanks to them for that.”

Asked about his overall assessment of his team’s performance, McKenna said: “Satisfied. I think we did more than enough good things to be happy with the performance. It was a tough game against a good team.


Sam Morsy celebrates with Kayden Jackson after giving Town a 2-1 lead.

Sam Morsy celebrates with Kayden Jackson after giving Town a 2-1 lead.
– Credit: Steve Waller – stephenwaller.com

“The first half was never going to be a case of creating lots of clean chances. They came to defend, first and foremost, and they do that well. Michael (Duff) is very good at organizing his teams We were patient, we had a good tempo, we got into good areas, we needed a bit of magic to open the scoring and the most disappointing thing was that we didn’t did not take advantage of this momentum.

“In the second half I think we created more than enough chances against a team that is really, really, really deep at the time. We did a lot of good things in terms of finding the balancing patience and changing the game from side to side, but also putting crosses into the box and getting in for the first and second ball.

“We hit the post, we cleared one on the line, there was a good save from the goalkeeper, a goal that should have held, we scored a very good second goal… that against a team that is coming to go down, has a lot of good players and a good new manager. I think we have to be happy with the performance and the general direction of the team’s journey.”


Conor Chaplin celebrates by giving Town a 1-0 lead.

Conor Chaplin celebrates by giving Town a 1-0 lead.
– Credit: Steve Waller – stephenwaller.com

‘The ref cost us the game’ – McKenna’s verdict on 2-2 home draw with Barnsley

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