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You’re Not Fit To Referee – Peterborough United 1-3 Swansea City

A Scott Sinclair hat-trick meant that Swansea avoided a cup upset but, ultimately, the game was spoilt by referee Nigel Miller.

Before the game both managers had stated their desire to win and the starting line-ups of both sides represented this. Gary Johnson named as strong a line-up as he possibly could but injuries to the central midfield pairing of Grant McCann and James Wesolowski meant that Charlie Lee and Chris Whelpdale were playing as the duo in the centre of midfield. Nana was also brought into the starting line-up at right back.

Brendon Rodgers made seven changes to the side that started in Swansea’s league game at the weekend bringing in David Cotterill to start on the right wing and Stephen Dobbie to play the lone role up-front, amongst others, in Swansea’s formation which obviously looks to utilise the pace on both wings. Yves Makabu-Makalambay was also handed his first start of the season in goal.

The Championship side immediately showed their quality, forcing Joe Lewis into a save in the opening stages after Scott Sinclair had been given too much time to cut inside and fire a shot away by Nana.

This warning sign obviously didn’t alert Posh’s defence too much to the danger of Sinclair’s pace because moments later he was gifted another chance, this time he took it as well. After Chris Whelpdale had given away possession sloppily, Sinclair danced around four Peterborough United defenders, who seemed mesmerised by the wingers quick feet, before he was through on goal and although the initial shot was saved by Lewis, the ball, after a series of ricochets, the final one coming off SCOTT SINCLAIR, ended up in the back of the net.

Posh were unbeaten at home up to now and weren’t simply going to let the Championship team progress without putting up a fight and the hosts were back on level terms within an instant of falling behind. Charlie Lee made an excellent run into the penalty area before firing the ball back across the goal-line for CRAIG MACKAIL-SMITH to tap into an empty net from six yards out.


Craig Mackail-Smith scored once but should have added a few more to his tally.

Inspired by this goal Peterborough went close to taking the lead moments later, in similar fashion to the first goal, when Mackail-Smith’s cut back was directed towards goal by Aaron McLean but Makabu-Makalambay made a good save. The Posh looked as if they had settled into the game now and, with the confidence of drawing level, they were carving up a make-shift Swansea defence with ease.

The hapless referee, Nigel Miller, was called into action for the first time in the match, although it wasn’t to be the last, mid-way through the first half when Mackail-Smith had rounded Makabu-Makalambay in the Swansea goal and was clearly brought down by the ‘keeper inside the penalty area. The referee pondered over the decision, which, if given as a foul, would had to have been a red card to the Swansea goal-keeper for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, before pointing for a goal-kick. In this decision he was clearly showing that Makabu-Makalambay didn’t touch the ball, Mackail-Smith also didn’t dive but apparently the obvious foul didn’t warrant a penalty.

After numerous good runs from Sinclair the Peterborough defence were beginning to look a little scared of the pacey wide-man and it was evident as he tore past Nana and Mendez-Laing, who both appeared to run away from the winger, and fired a shot on target but Joe Lewis was equal to it and turned the shot over the cross-bar.

Again the referee was called into action. This time twice in a matter of moments with Posh having legitimate penalty claims turned down both times. Firstly, Mackail-Smith ran in behind the ‘Swans’ defence and was sliced down by Ashley Williams, from behind, but the referee chose to give a corner much to the strikers disbelief. Moments later the striker was in behind the ‘Swans’ defence again and this time appeared to be grappled to the floor inside the 18 yard box but the referee allowed play to go on and the ball rolled gratefully into the Swansea goal-keeper’s hands. A chorus of boos rang out around London Road but Mr. Miller seemed unperturbed.

It wasn’t long before Sinclair was back in the action again, as he proved a constant threat. A clever through-ball from Darren Pratley released SCOTT SINCLAIR into space and, after Nana was caught the wrong side of the attacker, the former Chelsea player had time to pick his spot before coolly slotting the ball beyond Lewis in the Peterborough goal.


Sinclair, here shown celebrating against Burnley, was impressive.

The goal, which was struck just before half-time, was naturally a disappointment for the Posh fans who had seen their team look very competitive during the first half. The pace of the Welsh side’s wingers was obviously causing problems though, with Sinclair looking particularly dangerous. Swansea did have a very impressive ability of exploding into life at times, after retaining possession comfortably, due to the pace the possessed in their side.

Both sides were looking to add another soon after the break with George Boyd firing just wide after his shot was deflected just wide by Ashley Williams block, to be fair Makabu-Makalambay seemed to have the shot covered. Joe Lewis at the other end certainly didn’t have Scott Sinclair’s curling effort covered moments later but he was grateful to see the ball travel past his left hand up-right.

Nigel Miller was back to his worst again with an absolutely shocking decision. Mackail-Smith was played through, with his pace exploiting the ‘Swans’ defence, and he was clearly bundled over by Albert Serran on his way through on goal but yet again Mr. Miller chose to give absolutely nothing and the ball trickled away to safety.

Gary Johnson decided to re-shuffle his side due to the fact Swansea were having far too much time on the ball, especially as they entered the Peterborough United half – Stephen Dobbie and Jordi Lopez had both gone close as a result of this space. Chris Whelpdale was replaced, after having to play out of position due Posh’s injury crisis, with Lee Tomlin coming on. George Boyd filled in the central midfield position, in a more advanced position than Whelpdale was previously playing in, with Lee Tomlin playing a similar role to what George Boyd was previously on the left hand side.


Lee Tomlin made an impact after coming off the bench.

Stephen Dobbie, who is normally so clinical in-front of goal, missed a sitter as the game wore on after a free-kick was floated in from the right but the striker somehow fluffed his lines and fired wide of Joe Lewis’ goal. The game would have surely been over had that chance gone in.

This was the start of a Posh fight-back though and the hosts were now playing some of their most flowing football of the game. First Boyd went close and then, after some great passing including a wonderfully skilled flick from Mackail-Smith, Charlie Lee fired inches wide of the post. Lee’s shot had certainly been saved but neither linesman nor the awful Nigel Miller spotted the ball touch the Swansea goalkeeper and gave a goal kick much to Posh fans and player’s disgust.

Craig Mackail-Smith then had a glorious opportunity to put Peterborough back on level terms but somehow the striker managed to put the ball over from three yards out, when it was probably harder to miss than score. The chance came after some superb work from Lee Tomlin carved out the opportunity.

Posh were made to pay for their missed chances just moments later when SCOTT SINCLAIR completed his hat-trick. The chance was created by some excellent Swansea passing a clever back-heel from Stephen Dobbie, who freed Sinclair, and Sinclair made no mistake putting the ball, calmly, into the far corner to score his third of the night.


Scott Sinclair has been in fine form since joining Swansea.

The game seemed to lose some of its impetuous after this goal with Posh knowing that their chance of winning had probably gone. Johnson’s substitution to hand Jay Davies his Peterborough United debut also showed this. However, Mackail-Smith was handed a chance to make amends for his earlier miss after a great pass from Tomlin, but his shot was poor and was comfortably saved by the Swansea goal-keeper.

Posh showed that they are not far off being a competitive Championship out-fit with that display; we  certainly tested Swansea until the end and had we been more clinical it may well have been a very different outcome. It also shows that, if we do managed to achieve promotion, players will need to be added to the squad as it was a common feature in Peterborough United matches to feel that the game could have so easily been different on another day when we were playing at that level last season. The fact is at Championship level teams are very clever, once they have taken the lead they don’t over-commit and Swansea were obviously no different; they looked an accomplished side at that standard and clearly had a lot of class. If we get promoted we’re not far off being able to compete but we will need to add a little bit more class and a little more guile.

Another thing that I have to mention is the referee. This, quite frankly, was the worst refereeing performance I have ever seen. Abject from start to finish Nigel Miller clearly needs to have his eyes tested, or just simply learn the rules of football. I honestly don’t think he was biased; he was merely woeful. It is a common feature with him though – at Derby last season he was also terrible and if you type “Nigel Miller referee” into Google the second link shows an angry Birmingham fan bemoaning his performance. The F.A seriously need to look into who they are allowing to referee football matches that people pay good money for because, frankly, this man shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of a Sunday League match.


Nigel Miller was terrible throughout.

Take nothing away from the visitors though. They were a good team and had the ability to explode into life with the pace that they have on either wing. It was clear our defence did not know how to handle this for most of the match and they could have made the score-line look a lot more comfortable than it was in the end, even though we missed chances ourselves. Much has been made of Cardiff’s chances of promotion this season but after seeing that display there may well be another Welsh side in with a chance of making the Premier division at the end of the season.

Swansea: Makabu-Makalambay, Jazz Richards, Albert Serran, Ashley Williams, Alan Tate, Jordi Lopez (Mark Gower, 67 minutes), Darren Pratley, Cedric Van Der Gun (Joe Allen, 70 minutes), David Cotterill, Scott Sinclair (Nathan Dyer, 62 minutes), Stephen Dobbie.

Attendance: 4,164

Peterborough United Player Ratings

Joe Lewis, 6 – Had little chance with any of Sinclair’s goals.

Seth Nana, 4 – Has failed to impress at right back and clearly had a lot to learn positionally. Substituted for Jay Davies (5) in the 84th minute.

Kelvin Langmead, 5 – Caught out for pace for Sinclair’s first goal but relatively solid after that.

Gabriel Zakuani, 6 – Decent performance which saw the centre back make some crucial blocks.

Tommy Rowe, 7 – Very good game from Tommy Rowe who seemed the only Peterborough United defender who was totally at ease with dealing with Swansea’s pace.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, 5 – He’s improving and is a threat going forward but defensively he still has much to learn. Substituted for Dave Hibbert (5) in the 70th minute.

Chris Whelpdale, 4 – Out of position and it showed. Didn’t offer the defence much protection and gave the ball away far too easily. Substituted for Lee Tomlin (6) in the 56th minute.

Charlie Lee, 8 – This was more like the Charlie Lee that won two player of the year awards. He battled, was brave and created a lot of chances.

George Boyd, 5 – His last two performances haven’t been great but it’s still obvious that he has the ability to be a match-winner.

Aaron McLean, 7 – Great work ethic from McLean, he provided some very good link up play as well.

Craig Mackail-Smith, 6 – Unfortunate not to get a penalty on more than one occasion and was tireless with his running. Did score, but he still should have added to his tally for the season by more than one.

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  1. HullTiger1

    22 September, 2010 at 15:42

    A decent article, in places, however I also find some parts very disturbing to read.

    George Boyd, 5 – His last two performances having been great but it’s still obvious that he has the ability to be a match-winner.

    Does that make sense to anyone?

    Also, the whole article simply disguises the fact you are a disgruntled Boro fan, who has to the potential to become a good journalist, however, are too biased in too many parts. The whole paragraph on the referee was atrocious; Since when do journalists tell their readers to go on to Google to watch a fan bemoan a referee. Any football fan bemoans a referee every game, almost, so this is utterly pathetic.

    I hope you take this into account, and your future articles are alot less one-sided.

  2. John Verrall

    22 September, 2010 at 15:54

    Firstly that was an error that I missed. I’ve changed it now and it should make sense.

    The idea of writing a club blog is that is should be a little biased, i’m writing for my team after-all, not a national newspaper or anything like that.

    I’ve told readers that as an example of how bad he is. It’s not just this game, it’s many that he has been useless in, was the point I was making.

    Also go onto my previous articles and find one of me stating that it was the referee’s fault, apart from the previous one Mr. Miller was in charge of, and I will accept your last point. The fact is this one was a disgrace.

    Of course, I take all critism on board, as well as praise. But the idea of writing a club blog is that is should be biased; from the view of a Peterborough United fan. If you want an entirely neutral match report visit the BBC’s website – although they also say the referee was poor. And I take this qoute from one of the Peterborough United forums “The Referee Assessor sat with me in the Lounge before/half-time and after the game and I can assure you he understood our anger at the worst Referee we have had for many a long day. He duly took notes”… it wasn’t just me who thought he was poor.

  3. BigRoobyBooby

    22 September, 2010 at 15:57

    Hull Tiger

    This is a Posh centred blog written by a very intelligent and eloquent young Posh fan, so of course it’s going to be one sided, and as this is a blog it’s the perfect place for the young author to talk about his opinion in regard the the referee.

    Maybe you’d like to post us a link to your blog and we can all see how it’s done, also wouldn’t mind an invite to one of your Journalism lectures that you so obviousley give based on your know it all attitude.

    Keep it up COB11, you can tell your doing a good job when guys like this try to disguise there jealousy as a critique.

  4. John Verrall

    22 September, 2010 at 16:02

    Thanks BRB, nice of you to say that.

    I think, had the Hull Tiger been at the match last night, he would have understood where I was coming from but clearly he wasn’t so maybe it seems a little biased to a neutral fan (presuming, as there username suggests, they’re a Hull City fan).

    There is further evidence about the referee being so bad though with this statement from Craig Mackail-Smith via Twitter: “Some bad decisions made last night in the game. Deserved pens but was denied… Now to concentrate on the league!”

  5. BigRoobyBooby

    22 September, 2010 at 16:17

    You dont need to justify yourself, this is your blog which you work very hard on, therefore if your opinion is that the ref was bad then your entitled to share that.

  6. Pacemaker Swan

    22 September, 2010 at 17:16

    As a Swansea fan seems a fairly accurate and balanced (for a posh supporter) report. I have no doubt the ref was rubbish we have them all the time. No decisions went our way Sat against Scunny a few may have done last night.
    I don’t think you were helped by CMS ability to fall down at the slightest contact all over the field, doesn’t really help the ref to tell if you are being fouled or putting it on.
    Gary Johnson has had some good results against us over the years so was probably pretty confident last night of getting the win. Sinclair is turining out to be the steal of the season from Chelsea and will burn off a lot more defenders before the end of the season. If he is still with us.
    Good luck for the rest of the season.

  7. Poshjack

    22 September, 2010 at 18:07

    As a Swans Fan who was present I agree it’s a pretty accurate report – obviously seen through Posh eyes but fair comment. Pleased to see the negative comments to the ref (pretty much well deserved in all honesty) did not detract from the Swans who actually played very well despite several decisions going against them also – not least how on earth CMS managed to not get booked for the number of dives he put in! Although the claim against our GK was a fair one he really would have done himself better service by trying to stay on his feet.

    Am always pleased to see my team beat the Posh (living locally) but also good to see them playing well in the main especially as we’re in a different league this year!
    Was a cracking game to watch if you’d been a neutral – both sides showing a lot of talent and ambition. Obviously I feel it showed out who is the Championship team but can’t see why Posh can’t be back there soon.

    Keep up the blog writing, wonder why a hull fan is obsessed with knocking a posh fans writing?

  8. John Verrall

    22 September, 2010 at 18:15

    Yeah I was impressed with Swansea last night. I was at both games we played last year and you looked a much improved outfit.

    Rodgers clearly has kept some of Sousa’s ethos in your team as you still play some good passing football but it’s obvious there is far more attacking intent in your side this year. You also have, with the pace, the ability to explode into life at any time and you punished us by doing just that three times.

    P.S – Thanks Pacemaker Swan for putting an article up on the Swansea forum. Was surprised to see that there!

  9. oldposhpete

    22 September, 2010 at 19:32

    John, ignore Hull Tiger. Anyone who watched and supported Hull over the past few seasons obviously knows very little about proper football, and from his comments knows even less about creative writing and the function of Fan based blogs.

    I do take issue over your comment regarding the referee and Sunday League Football.

    I used to referee at that level many years ago and, believe me, he doesn’t even get close to that level of competence. ;>)

  10. HullTiger1

    23 September, 2010 at 09:19

    I am a professional writer writing for a national newspaper, however, for legal and copyright issues I cannot disclose my full name, hence why I write under the alias HullTiger1. Everyone who has commented clearly has no idea about football related journalism, may I ask, as a rhetorical question, who is paid over £83,000 p/a for journalism work?

    I hope you take my comments with a pinch of salt and take this into realisation when writing future publicised articles. If you’d like to get in touch with a proper journalist, feel free to email me.

    Good luck for the season and your career in journalism.

  11. Editor

    23 September, 2010 at 10:19

    HullTiger1 “I am a professional writer writing for a national newspaper, however, for legal and copyright issues I cannot disclose my full name”

    What absolute tosh, there is certainly no reason copyright wise somebody could not reveal their name. I’m doubting your understanding of copyright!

    I’m guessing you work for the national newspaper in the evenings, as you are at Netherhall School in Cambridge during the day right?

  12. oldposhpete

    23 September, 2010 at 14:28

    “I am a professional writer writing for a national newspaper”

    That just shows how far the journalistic standards have fallen over the years then.

    I doubt you could secure employment at The Sun, let alone a newspaper of any quality.

    What anyone is paid has got to do with this discussion is beyond me, other than the author of the comment trying to brag, and failing miserably.

  13. rushden-till-i-die

    23 September, 2010 at 20:06

    Editor, if this was on Facebook, I would ‘like’ your comment. What an absolute mug ‘HullTiger’ is, using his school email address…he probably just can’t stand the fact that John is not only a better journalist than him, but perhaps the best journalist currently writing here. Mate, the only reason you would have to disclose your name is if you were an undercover reporter, which your not. Prat.

    On a sidenote, keep up the great work John!! And by the way, how’s Tommo getting on after scoring his first the other day?

  14. John Verrall

    23 September, 2010 at 20:12

    Thanks Rushden, nice of you to say that.

    I’ve been really impressed by Tomlin so far. I honestly think, and I don’t think many Posh fans will agree with me here (YET), he has the potential to be the best player at the club… apart from perhaps Boydie.

    From what we’ve seen he has the ability to change a game in an instant, which is a skill that can’t be taught and very few players have. He also has a very good passing ability which has really impressed me so far.

    Don’t get me wrong, he’s far and away from being the finished article. He still is caught in possesion too often and needs to adapt to the pace of the game. He also needs to lose a little bit of weight to improve his fitness levels, in my opinion and his temperament is also questionable. But the potential is clear to see; I expect him to be a regular starter towards the end of the season.

    I can see why Rushden fans were so upset to see him go as I believe he can go to the very top.

  15. rushden-till-i-die

    23 September, 2010 at 20:19

    I should think you can see why we were upset! He has the ability to succeed in the Championship at least…imagine what he was like for us!

    Down at Rushden we identified pretty much the same things as you for him to work on, especially the temperament…he was sent off twice for getting involved in brawls he didnt need to. However, I honestly think he can be the first Rushden-bred player to make it in the Prem…with a nice fat sell-on fee for us of course :p

  16. John Verrall

    23 September, 2010 at 20:21

    Yeah, they’ll be a sell on clause if he makes it without a doubt. He’s already been in two brawls during his Posh career so he certianly needs to work on that.

    How are Dom Green and Rene Howe doing for you? They should both be fairly good at that level I would think.

  17. rushden-till-i-die

    23 September, 2010 at 20:24

    Well Rene certainly has talent at this level, I just hate his attitude. If he knuckled down he would be a great League player, that was shown by his wondergoal vs Wimbledon, but he is a bit lazy and currently injured.

    I can’t really comment on Green as I was on holiday for a while and missed a few games, but he came on on Tuesday and seemed skillful and quick, just what we need!! All the Rushden fans have been raving about him, but he must have had a few bad games otherwise he’d be starting. The Grimsby manager said he ‘took them apart’ when we beat them 4-1. We’ll see…..

  18. John Verrall

    23 September, 2010 at 20:27

    Agree with you about Howe. It never really worked here because he is so lazy. I’m not sure he has the potential to play any higher than League Two because of this now.

    As for Green he’s a funny one. Our management staff and chairman raved about him when he first came and many of our players said he was the most skillful player during training. When he did play he just looked too lightweight and derived of any confidence. He also had a very poor final ball but he has a little bit of talent, that much was obvious.

    Whether he’ll ever be as good as our management seemed to think he would be remains to be seen but he must have something about him.

  19. Captain_Posh

    23 September, 2010 at 22:24

    I thought the point of a blog was to put your opinion across, not do a basic match report you can find in any old place? I also suggest the Hull man goes and reads the Exeter match report, a report which was very balanced and gave Exeter a ton of credit.

    Keep up the good work John. I enjoy reading your take on things and find our opinions on matters match up far more often than not.

  20. John Verrall

    23 September, 2010 at 22:27

    Thanks C_P,

    He’s clearly on here to cause some sort of reaction for whatever reason.

    I’m glad the Posh fans are enjoying it, at least!

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