08:00PM, Thursday 27 February 2020
Marlow's keeper Simon Grant has an interesting take on why Marlow FC have been failing to get the rub of the green from officials this season.
The Blues are desperately trying to force their way back into the race for a play-off place in the Isthmian League South Central Division.
But, after a season hampered by injuries and suspensions, they may have left themselves with too much to do as the season heads into its final months.
Poor officiating has been a constant gripe for Marlow manager Mark Bartley this season, with the Blues boss questioning many of the decisions that have gone against his side.
However, his in-form goalkeeper Grant has a different viewpoint to the gaffer.
"Some of the decisions we get on a consistent basis are a bit tough to take sometimes," Grant told Danny Varsalona on his Marlow FM show.
"I don't want to say that (that there's a racial element) because it's just a bit easy.
"We're on the front foot. We try to press and sometimes that can be construed as aggressive.
"After a while the referee lets the soft ones (tackles) go and the other team gets frustrated. The best referees are the talkers but some refs lose control early in games. One minute a tackle is a foul, the next minute it's not and that creates confusion. And then sometimes it does spill over. But it could have been nipped in the bud earlier."
In the recent 3-0 win over promotion challenging Westfield, Marlow saw two of their players, Devontae Romeo and Kameron English, shown straight red cards which Grant felt were extremely harsh.
"I don't want any advantages in games," he said. "But Kameron's was a yellow card all day. No one has even appealed it and the referee just blew. We were all a bit surprised."
Grant has an impressive penalty record this season, saving three in a penalty shoot out win over Maidenhead United's Academy team in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup. He also kept out spot kicks against Westfield and Hertford Town, and caused a degree of controversy with his delaying tactics ahead of his save in the goalless draw with Hertford.
"I try and delay it as much as possible," he said.
"To try and get the penalty taker to second guess himself. If it’s a good penalty you’re not going to save it are you.
"But the doubt kills them sometimes so the longer you can make them wait the better. There are certain things you can read. The body language of a taker gives off certain signs."
Grant hopes to move into coaching in the coming years, perhaps at Marlow FC or elsewhere, and was full of praise for his manager Bartley and his assistant Phil Brown, who is also the goalkeeping coach.
"The best thing about Mark is his honesty," he said. "You get a lot of managers who tell you one thing and then do another thing.
"But to be fair I have more interaction with the goalkeeping coach Phil. We talk about the game. Phil Brown is more key for me on a matchday. He’s a good guy and he’s really knowledgeable. He’s different to me, he’s a lot more calm. Even though I don’t look calm, I’m a lot calmer than I used to be."
He added: I'm in the latter stages of my career. I’d potentially like to stay with Mark but I’d have to have that conversation with him. But I could also see where pastures new will take me when I hang up the gloves.
"It won’t be long before I take up coaching and maybe move into management.
“But there’s a long time before that happens."
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