So the assessment report has arrived!
Before the Report
I was able to arrive at the field early (45 minutes before) and was very happy to see the full crew with me there at the time so we proceeded to the usual spot at the field after a brief chat with a fellow official. The pre-game schedule went quite smoothly as I discussed several mechanics to be covered during the game as we walked around the field for the field inspection. Before we had completed the inspection, I was happy to see that the assessor was there and it was an out-of-town assessor! Was quite honoured that someone had travelled to come assess my game. Not that the game was of the calibre or my refereeing was but just that the effort was expended to do so. It was something to appreciate.
After collecting the game sheets, game balls, running a good warm-up and giving, what I consider my first set, of confident pre-game instructions, we were soon on our way. We proceeded to the coin toss and an equipment check to ensure nobody was wearing jewellery. I always find the seven minutes leading up to kick-off to be the shortest as I feel they fly by and make it so hard to start the game on time. By the time I had taken my team to the centre and we split, it was 9pm. I gazed out over the field to quickly mentally count the number of players on the field as my colleagues completed their net checks and the whistle to start the game was blown a minute later.
It appears that I had chosen a good game for an assessment as both teams were battling for top spot in the league table. The first half passed without much difficulty nor trouble but I was still working hard on my S-diagonal and being close to play as crosses and credible chances were going through for both teams.
There were parts of the game that I was dashing back and forth as there were goal-scoring chances flying left right and centre. I was particularly cognisant of my sprints through the centre circle remembering that I needed to use that area when I needed to get across quickly.
The scenario of note in the debrief and in my mind was an offside scenario. The ball was kicked forward to an attacker and with the speed of play and the ball being just 6 yards in front of the attacker, my colleague raised his flag to signal an offside offence. Almost simultaneously though, the attacker stopped and left the ball (without having seen the offside flag). I was just about to blow the whistle to award an indirect free kick when this happened but I realised the change in the scenario and was ready to have play continue. Before I could react and clear the confusion, a defender picked up the ball thinking I had whistled. I was astonished for a second before I blew the whistle to award a direct free kick for the handling and before the defenders realised what had happened. Shortly after the free kick was setup and the game continued.
Another interesting scenario was when an attacker just got past a defender who appeared to be the last one and was tripped. I blew the whistle and sprinted from where I was at the edge of the centre circle (not because I was camping) and cautioned the offending player. A defender nearby appeared to be close enough beside the attacker to cover the scenario. The spectators and defender were particularly aware of what the colour of the card could have been as I heard from the reaction when I raised the yellow card.
After the Report
A pass. Yes! Two more assessments to go.