Referee Kevin Friend to take charge of Portsmouth v Southampton - reasons for Blues fans to be less than impressed?

Referee Kevin Friend will take charge of Pompey’s third-round Carabao Cup game against Southampton.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 1:06 pm
Avram Grant confronts referee Kevin Friend during Pompey's Premier League game against Sunderland in February 2010

And looking back on the Leicestershire-based official’s track record when it comes to Blues games, you could argue it’s an appointment that will not go down well with the Fratton faithful.

In total, the 48-year-old has refereed six games involving Pompey.

The Blues didn’t register a win in any of them, with Premier League defeats coming at the hands of Stoke (1-0, November 2009) and Spurs (2-0, March 2010), and Championship loses against Notingham Forest (2-1, January 2011), Reading (2-0, April 2011) and West Ham (1-0, January 2012) also being registered.

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Those games also saw Friend dish out the cards at apparent will, with David Norris (West Ham) and Ricardo Rocha (Reading) both seeing red, and 13 yellows produced against Blues players.

In fact, either Rocha or Hayden Mullins found themselves punished the most in those games, with one of the duo at least finding their way into the ref’s note book each time.

Yet nothing will compare to the events that took place at Fratton Park on the only other occasion Friend took control of a Pompey match – the Premier League draw against Sunderland on February 9, 2010.

Rocha was again at the centre of things, being shown a red card once again as the hosts battled against Premier League relegation – and the threat of a High Court winding-up order.

Kevin Friend shows Brighton's Anthony Knockaert a red card against Bournemouth last season Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Yet the Portuguese international almost got away with the foul he committed on Black Cats striker Darren Bent on nine minutes, with Friend initially sending off Hassan Yebda.

Yet order was soon restored and the ref’s mistake corrected as Rocha confessed to his role in the incident, before Bent scored from the resulting penalty.

Friend then failed to make himself any PO4 friends when he turned down appeals for a penalty after Sunderland defender George McCarthy hauled down Aruna Dindane before half-time.

That incensed then Pompey manager Avram Grant, who confronted the match official on the pitch to air his displeasure.

As a result, the Israeli was sent to the stands as the Blues’ night went from bad to worse.

Dindane’s 96th-minute effort rescued a point for the hosts, who were also denied a second-half penalty when McCarthy brought down Frederic Piquionne as he bore down on goal.

Yet it wasn’t enough to appease Grant at the final whistle.

He said at the time: ‘In the last 10 days too many decisions have gone against us.

‘Against Manchester City there was a clear penalty and a goal from offside. Against Fulham there was a clear offside against Bobby Zamora.

‘Against Manchester United it was 1-0 and there was no penalty when (Patrice) Evra used two hands.

‘Against Sunderland, two clear penalties against us. I can fight against everything but sometimes it is too much. Maybe it is too easy to do things against us.’

Friend has officiated only once at Fratton Park since that night, but is recognised as one of the Premier League’s top officials.

He referred the 2019 FA Cup final between Manchester City and Watford and has taken charge of four top-flight games this season.

Yet he caused controversy recently when he ruled out Henri Lansbury’s stoppage-time goal for Aston Villa against Crystal Palace - with 10-man Villa one goal down - after judging Jack Grealish to have dived in the build up.

On Saturday, Friend with be the VAR official for Burnley’s Premier League fixture against Norwich.

He’ll then be the fourth official for Chelsea’s game against Liverpool on Sunday.