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‘Surreal’ scenes at Portsmouth v Cheltenham with 21 minutes added on after officials get injured

There were ‘surreal’ scenes at Portsmouth v Cheltenham with 21 minutes added on after officials get injured, risking abandonment.

The assistant referee picked up an injury in the 37th minute of the League One clash, with the 4th official Stephen Brown taking over before there was another injury to an official on 57 minutes.

This led to a message going on out on the PA system asking if there was a qualified official in attendance.

Someone then appeared from the South Stand to step in, however, a total of 21 minutes were added on at the end of the 90 and after all that… it still finished 0-0.

A local league referee, Julian Browning, said to BBC Radio 5 Live’s 606: “I was wearing shorts and trainers. I got some kit from the second assistant ref, shorts and socks that another official had spare and a pair of gold boots appeared in the changing room.

“If you’re going to make your presence felt you might as well wear gold boots, hey?”

Cheltenham manager Wade Elliot had to give the go-ahead to a Portsmouth supporter officiating and told BBC Radio Gloucestershire: “I think they should all have a curry and four pints before coming on, it seemed to do the trick.

“He was probably the best official we’ve had this year.

“I did worry when he walked (on) and gave the messiah salute to the North Stand, but it’s one of those things – the players dealt with it really well. It would have been easy to have lost focus.

“I went in and spoke to them, gave them the thanks, asked them what they wanted to do and they were ‘bring it on’.”

Portsmouth boss John Mousinho meanwhile dubbed it “a surreal afternoon.”

Brown was called up on 35 minutes when one of the assistant referees suffered a calf injury before he found himself unable to continue after the break.

Referee Ben Toner made his way down the tunnel with the ball, then did Cheltenham players, with an announcement over the public address system for qualified officials in the ground to make themselves known.

“We had been wondering what was going on. Everyone that sits around me knows I am a local referee, not a brilliant standard,” Browning added.

“I was a bit unsure at first. They made a second call and I thought ‘oh, what the hell?’ I’ve not been on the turf at Fratton Park since I was an 11-year-old playing in a schools cup final in 1978.”

Julian got changed, the warm up happened warm-up and play continued.

“I am a massive Pompey fan, I have been for 50 years, I’ve been a season ticket holder forever,” he added.

“The adrenaline kicked in. I was worried about two things, one, if a contentious decision happened, but also if Pompey had scored how was I going to react?”

The game eventually finished at 5:22pm.

Mousinho told BBC Radio Solent: “There was a chance the game could have been called off, particularly because no one knew of the linesman’s affiliation as he came down from the stand.

“The away team could have said no they didn’t agree with him officiating the match, but they didn’t, so credit to them.”

Here’s what fans said on ‘surreal’ scenes at Portsmouth v Cheltenham with 21 minutes added on after officials get injured…

@MrRBourne: This happened at Gillingham in 2017. My Dad – a Gillingham season ticket holder – became the fourth official.

@LeeCrowhurst: Even with a #pompey official – we still couldn’t score 😂

@pompey_Freddie1: What the fuck Hahahaha

@ZhaoWeiZhao: should get free tickets for life, always have a ref on hand lol

@CleaveO: Only in football would this happen. Fantastic.

@RishmanRobert: League one at its purest 😂

@DDeane41: Would say it’s all fun and games down here! How many officials get injured at fratton park? One on Tuesday night and now two more 😂

@DoYouEvenMikel: FA are absolutely sweating at the prospect of someone finally refereeing a game properly

@jimcurtisbbn: Similar thing a few years ago at Accrington Stanley in fa cup v Crewe. We ended up playing with just one linesman

@Dann_PFC: What is happening 😂 god bless the EFL

@BurpleMan: Can’t be worse than the shite the PGMOL supply every week

Where is Jimmy Hill when you need him
One for the teenagers 😉

@MammothEU: Only at fratton park would this happen 😂

@mallers01: Wales v Austria 1975 at Wrexham. Local referee John Lloyd came from the stand to run the line after a linesman got injured. Apparently got a lot of stick too from the local crowd 🤣🤣

@niallmccaughan: Most weeks there are 20,000 referees at Fratton Park so I’m surprised more people didn’t put their hand up… 🤣 #Pompey

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