Yet another poor referee drew the wrath of the Harriers fans today when sent off two players, failed to send off a more worthy one and then turned down all appeals for the most blatant penalty seen in years. His diabolical decisions paved the way for yet another Harriers defeat although some fault can be pointed in the Harriers direction after they failed to test Billy Turley all game.
With Simon Russell and Scott Bevan both making their comeback from injury and Oxfords poor form so far this season the hopes from the Harriers fans was for all three points. We were looking for an improved performance after last weeks dreary draw at home to Woking but sadly it all went wrong again.
The first inkling of what was to come from the weak referee was when Oxford's Eddie Hutchinson went for a high ball alongside Gavin Hurren but ended with Hurren crashing to the floor with blood pouring from an open wound in his face. Ian Foster rushed on to treat him but it was no good and he had to leave the field for seven stitches with Michael McGrath coming on in place of him.
With the crowd also baying for blood the ref chickened out and merely produced a yellow card to the dis-belief of both fans and players.
The game continued in a niggly vein with plenty of meaty challenges going in from both sides but the first real chance of the game fell to the Harriers Justin Richards when he connected with a Andy Ferrell cross but his powerful header crashed against the underside of the bar and back out towards an Oxford player to clear it away to safety.
The Harriers had been having all of the possession so far and kept pressing the Utd goal without ever getting a really clear-cut chance to strike but then, as is always the case, the team that had done nothing all game took the lead against the run of play.
A long ball upfield foxed both the Harriers defenders and the lone Oxford striker. He, Matt Green, mis-kicked it at first but then recovered enough to put it under Scott Bevan for a totally un-deserved goal.
Soon after the controversy returned once more when Michael McGrath collected the ball in the corner and James Constable came over to help him out. Shadowing Beano was James Clarke who barged into the Harriers star striker and then dropped to the floor as if he'd been hit by a bus.
The referee hadn't even seen the incident but put two and two together quickly but came up with a wrong answer. He ran across holding the red card high in the air and brandished it straight at Constable. James protested, as did all his team mates but it was no good, this was the ref on the world stage and he was having his five minutes of fame.
Constable will now miss the next three games, including the FA Cup game at Dagenham next week, unless the club ask for video evidence to be looked at to get this shocking decision rescinded.
The incompetency of the official didn't end there though because just minutes later we had a stonewall penalty turned down.
Michael Blackwood had collected the ball midway to the halfway line and went on a surging run into the area. Just as he got there Barry Quinn took his legs from under him and scythed him to the ground but the moron in the black waved away all claims for a penalty and gave us a corner instead.
Still it didn't end at that because a minute later he had lost it all together when he red carded Carl Pettefer for an innocuous tackle on McGrath leaving the Harriers player on the ground. Obviously the ref thought it was a good time to even things up a bit and make us forget about all his other crap decisions.
As it was we went into the break a goal down and a game ruined so far by some terrible refereeing.