League One

Referee Darren Drysdale sparks controversy by squaring up to Ipswich Town's Alan Judge

Max Cooper
Feb 17, 2021, 11:00 AM GMT
In an unusual turn of events, a referee could be in hot water
In an unusual turn of events, a referee could be in hot water | Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Referee Darren Drysdale caused huge controversy on Tuesday evening, after he appeared to square up to Ipswich Town midfielder Alan Judge in their 0-0 draw with Northampton Town.

Match officials are generally known for their endless patience and ability to rise above the flaring tempers on the football pitch, but one man let the heat of the moment get to him during this fairly stale affair at Portman Road.

Judge was left furious with Drysdale's decision not to award him a penalty and stormed towards the official, only for the man in the middle to welcome the confrontation, towering over the number 18 and leaning his head in towards the footballer's.

This moment of absolute madness sparked scenes of panic on the pitch, with players unsure who to turn to in order to calm the tempers. Fortunately, Northampton man Lloyd Jones was on hand to diffuse the situation, pulling the referee away from his target and separating the raging duo.

Midfielder Judge was subsequently booked by Drysdale.

Speaking after the match, Ipswich boss Paul Lambert claimed that the incident 'needs to be looked at,' questioning the official's judgement.

"It should have been a penalty on Judgey [Alan Judge] at the end but it is a results business.

"The aftermath of that incident needs to be looked at."

It truly was a bizarre moment in football league history, and one that is hard to come by in the modern game. Drysdale's firm stance drew comparisons with celebrity ref Pierluigi Collina, who was known as one of the best officials in the sport, and one who took no nonsense from the players on the pitch.

Drysdale has some way to go before he is regularly mentioned in the same breath as Collina or Premier League icon Mike Dean, but he has shot to fame with these exploits on a dull evening in Suffolk.