Sheffield Wednesday: Get tough on the real cheats

Michail Antonio was booked for diving at Rotherham, wrongly in Dave Jones' view
Michail Antonio was booked for diving at Rotherham, wrongly in Dave Jones' view
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Dave Jones was his usual composed self when he spoke to the media after the Rotherham game, writes Paul Thompson.

But anyone within earshot of the away dressing room a little earlier would have been in no doubt about the seething depth of his emotion.

It is probably not unusual for a manager to give his team an ear-bashing after a below-par show and a defeat.

Wednesday certainly got one - what a contrast with Loftus Road last weekend. The Owls lost there as well but there were mostly positives to reflect on, apart from the standard of refereeing.

Jones’ attack on Scott Mathieson last Saturday for refusing two clear penalty claims by Michail Antonio and Jacques Maghoma was based on the evidence and partly fuelled by the many injustices that Wednesday suffered at the hands of officials in the early part of last season.

Then the same thing happened at Rotherham. In Jones’ view there was another sound penalty shout by Antonio who, like Maghoma at QPR got booked for diving, by Darren Drysdale.

The manager was very reluctant to discus Tuesday’s incident except to say it was wrong for a ref to justify his opinion by issuing a yellow card, and the incident did not cost the Owls the game.

It brought into focus my pet hate: the real cheats. I do not place Antonio or Maghoma in that category.

But we have all seen on TV players who look for penalties and go down when they haven’t been touched or whose legs collapse because of the slightest touch on a shoulder. I know there were some Millers fans who felt Maghoma went down too easily in one incident on Tuesday. In my view he slid on his knees unavoidably, got up instantly and certainly was not appealing for a penalty.

Definite diving sometimes gets exposed by the cameras. So why can’t the FA clamp down on it?

A three-match ban for anyone caught at it could soon eradicate such premeditated wrongdoing, You could argue that the same punishment hasn’t erased violent conduct from the sport - but with that offence I think the heat of the moment is more of an issue, as in the lamentable example of JJ in the cup tie.

Some divers are so accomplished that sometimes it is impossible to determine who is right or wrong without the aid of slow motion. That wasn’t the case with the Maghoma incident at Loftus Road, though.

Surely the FA could bring in a review system so if a referee is fooled a culprit can still be punished.