Rate The Ref Vs Fulham - Phil Dowd

This weeks man in the middle: Phil Dowd

Refs are an easy target for fans' vitriol when things aren't going their way. Birmingham lost their 4th game in succession and once again the ref is the centre of attention for a dubious penalty decision awarded to Fulham.

Dowd started as he meant to go on, poorly. He allowed players to grab shirts and haul players down, minor niggles brought a halt to play but clear fouls were waved on including a shove in the back for Melchiot when he was in the Fulham penalty area.

The ref hindered both sides attempts to play football (when either side could be bothered to try and play football). The official booked Luis Boa Morte for a perceived dive over Birmingham's keeper, Maik Taylor. It was Boa Morte who shoved Melchiot. It was Boa Morte who was involved in the "highlight" of the game.

Boa Morte was heading towards goal. He and Johnson came together when Johnson clearly fouled the Fulham midfielder. The ref blew but was pointing to the spot. It was hard to see how the award was given or, if as Dowd says it was a foul, no booking was given to Johnson. The answer probably lies with the fact that Dowd wasn't in a very good position to see the foul, saw only the aftermath, decided that no player would dive and therefore gave a spot kick. Why he didn't consult the assistant who did see the foul is only known to the ref. The decision in itself was hard to swallow, but the fishbone in the throat was the foul on Diao before Johnson waded in. Further evidence that Dowd wasn't watching the game? Who knows.

Near the end of the game, as time ticked on, Dowd insisted that Taylor's position of the ball wasn't inch perfect, despite the fact no one was near him and that the ball was heading for a melee in the middle of the pitch.

Ref rating: 4/10. Shocking.

Booked:

Boa Morte - Ungentlemanly conduct
Diop - Unsporting behaviour
Bocanegra - Unsporting behaviour

Johnson - Unsporting behaviour