A REFEREE appeared to square up to an Ireland international during a heated exchange that took place during the concluding minutes of a tetchy League One clash last night.
Match official Darren Drysdale appeared to push his head into Ipswich Town midfielder Alan Judge’s face in a bizarre incident that took place in an otherwise uneventful 0-0 draw with Northampton.
It came just seconds after Drysdale booked the 32-year-old for diving to try and win Ipswich a penalty.
Judge protested the decision strongly, prompting Drysdale to aggressively push his head into the Irish player’s face.
Several Ipswich and Northampton players were forced to intervene, separating Drysdale from Judge in an extraordinary turn of events.
Minutes later, with the game back in full swing, the referee was branding yet more cards with Ipswich captain Flynn Downes sent off after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession.
The first came following a midfield tangle with Downes given his marching orders soon after having shown dissent over the initial booking.
Referee Darren Drysdale appeared to square up to Alan Judge before booking the Ipswich player in their goalless draw against Northampton this evening. pic.twitter.com/ZexMTxYIx7
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 16, 2021
It came at the end of an otherwise uneventful encounter with Northampton arguably the better side against an Ipswich side under increasing pressure following a poor run of results.
Much of the post-game discussion, however, focused on the conduct of Drysdale.
Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey criticised Drysdale for showing “a lack of self-control" in confronting Judge.
“Irrespective of what has gone before in the match, referees should never put themselves in that position,” he told The Sun.
“Discipline is vital for an official and the footage and pictures from Portman Road did not look good as players from both teams ushered the experienced Drysdale away.”
He expects the Professional Game Match Officials Board will now conduct an investigation into the incident.
An Ipswich spokesperson meanwhile told Sky Sports News that the club have not made any official complaint.
"We will leave it to the authorities to decide if there is to be any action taken,” they said.