Articles

Angry Smith calls for professional refs

by John Curtis of "Press Association"

Stan Collymore hit a late winner to enable a below-par Liverpool to return to winning ways after their dramatic FA Cup fourth round collapse against Chelsea.

Collymore struck 15 minutes from time to end brave resistance by injury-hit Derby who played for 42 minutes with ten men after the sending-off of striker Darryl Powell.

Collymore dummied Matt Carbon on the edge of the area and then sent a curling shot wide of the despairing drive of Rams' keeper Russell Hoult.

Perhaps Hoult was taken by surprise in the sense that it represented Liverpool's first real shot in anger that found the target.

For long periods Roy Evans' side found it hard to break down a Derby side which hustled and bustled effectively.

The Rams actually shaded the first half with Dean Sturridge posing the occasional threat from a far than secure looking Liverpool rearguard in which Phil Babb was their saviour.

But the harsh reality of the situation is that Derby have now gone nine Premiership matches without a win and collected only four points in that period.

In terms of entertainment the match contained little to excite the 18,000 crowd, but the result evoked memories of the Liverpool sides of old who would grind out 1-0 wins time and time again without performing at their best.

Powell was shown the red card in the 48th after going in with his studs high and catching Bjorntore Kvarme with a late challenge.

The Norwegian international appeared to then be struck by some kind of missile thrown from the incensed crowd, possibly a paper cup, as he tried to run off the injury.

He was able to return to the action after five minutes but was substituted soon afterwards.

Referee Jones was given a police escort from the pitch and was greeted on the touchline by angry finger-waving Derby manager Jim Smith.

Liverpool created the first chance when Robbie Fowler released Stan Collymore who burst into the box, but he drilled his cross-shot wide of the far post.

But that was their only decent opportunity of the first half and more of the action took place in Liverpool's own penalty area.

Most of Derby's threat came from striker Dean Sturridge even though he was clearly not 100% fit after a recent hamstring injury.

It needed a fine tackle by recalled Liverpool centre-back Phil Babb to halt Sturridge after his pace had taken him clear into the penalty area.

A similar burst of speed again left the Liverpool defence trailing and goalkeeper David James did well to hold on to his fiercely struck low drive.

Derby were presented with the best chance of the first half in the 33rd minute when a Gary Rowett free-kick rebounded across goal to Robbie Van der Laan.

But from 15 yards out the Dutchman's left-footed drive beat James, yet flew inches wide of the far post.

After Powell's dismissal, Liverpool took control and they managed their first on target effort in the 56th minute when Jamie Redknapp's 25 yard shot was comfortably saved by Russell Hoult.

A fine chip from John Barnes then found Steve McManaman in space but his finish did not match the approach ball and he shot high and wide.

Furious Derby manager Jim Smith is calling for the introduction of professional referees after the sending off of his striker Darryl Powell for a second-half challenge on Liverpool's Bjorn Tore Kvarme at the Baseball Ground.

Smith claimed that referee Peter Jones did not see the challenge by Powell and the Rams chief felt the offence warranted a yellow rather than a red card.

He also hinted that he felt Kvarme was guilty of diving and the response of the crowd was to throw missiles at the Norwegian international as he left the pitch.

That could leave Derby facing possible Football Association action if referee Jones, who left the field with a police escort, mentions the incident in his report.

The 48th-minute dismissal overshadowed a late goal from Stan Collymore which earned Liverpool a 1-0 win and left Derby without a league victory in nine attempts.

Smith said: "There are two criteria which have to be met. There has got to be intent in a challenge like that and the referee has also to see the incident."

"I genuinely don't think he saw it. Normally a referee will blow for a foul and then give the sending off. He sent the player off and then awarded the free-kick."

"Darryl is not the sort of player who will go out to 'do' a player, and I feel there might have been a dive as well."

"That incident definitely changed the course of the game. In Italy there are professional referees who are accountable to a commission and when they have a bad game they are suspended for one or two games."

"Over here referees are only accountable to themselves. There is so much money in the Premier League and yet we have got amateurs in the middle. We need professional refs."

Liverpool manager Roy Evans reacted angrily when asked by journalists whether he felt Kvarme, who was able to carry on playing after treatment, had taken a dive.

"To suggest he dived is totally out of order. It would be totally dishonest to say that," he said.

"I don't think Powell came across with any intent to do any harm but it was the type of tackle that can hurt people."

Evans admitted: "After our performance at Chelsea in the FA Cup we needed that win. We have worked hard to get everybody back up this week and that was just the tonic we needed."

Liverpool goal hero Collymore also felt that Powell was unlucky to have been given his marching orders.

"Powell doesn't seem to be the type of player that goes around wilfully trying to injure somebody and maybe he was a little bit unlucky with the decision," said Collymore.

"But the referee interprets things as he sees them and he felt it was sufficient for a sending off."

Collymore agreed that having the extra man helped Liverpool to gain control of the match and said: "After the goal went in we had total control of the game and used the extra man quite well, but up until that point the game was very even."

"We've had a disappointing week. Apart from the Chelsea defeat we didn't do very well in a sixes competition in midweek so the one thing the manager wanted if we couldn't produce a great performance was a battling one, and I think we managed that."

Copyright - Press Association

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