Southend's Boreham Wood clash saw the ball in play for just 36 MINUTES

REVEALED: Southend’s National League clash with Boreham Wood saw the ball in play for just 36 MINUTES as fans slam ‘disgraceful’ timewasting

  • Southend United lost 1-0 to Boreham Wood in their National League clash
  • The ball was in play for just 36 minutes, prompting complaints from fans
  • Some even called for a rugby-style ‘stop the clock’ system into football
  • Sportsmail’s Ian Ladyman has written about timewasting in the Premier League 

Time-wasting reached new heights last weekend, as the ball spent just 36 minutes in play during Southend United’s 1-0 loss to Boreham Wood.

This after Sportsmail’s Ian Ladyman wrote about ‘endemic cheating and time-wasting’ in English football, which is ‘getting worse’.

He also spoke of the overuse of substitutions for potentially non-tactical reasons, and pointed to that 27  changes were made in the last five minutes of games in last weekend’s Premier League games.

Southend lost 1-0 to Boreham Wood in a game where the ball was in play for just 36 minutes

The lack of playtime at Southend was pointed out by Chris Phillips, a reporter at the Southend Echo, who tweeted his outrage at the lack of open play in the National League clash.

Fans were quick to respond, labelling the apparent time-wasting ‘disgraceful’ and saying they had’ never heard of such a low figure.’

Others labelled the lack of playtime ‘disgraceful’ and called for an introduction of a rugby-style ‘stop the clock’ rule.

Some fans have called for drastic actions to prevent time wasting from getting worse 

‘Chief among the long list of crimes that contribute to this mess are time-wasting by goalkeepers, the faking of injuries, arguing with officials and, of course, the increasingly torturous practice of making substitutions.

I cannot think of a more damaging rule change in recent times than the introduction of five subs in the Premier League — and the bar for that is already quite high. Presented as some lame nod towards player welfare, it is in reality nothing more than a cheat’s mandate.’

One even called for a similar system that also involved games being ‘reduced to 60 minutes’. 

The Southend manager was similarly disgruntled. He said after the game: ‘The ball was in play for 36 minutes of the match and it was disappointing we couldn’t build up a real head of steam.

‘It was the first game of the season and we deserved something from it.

‘Them losing a player made it even more stop start and made it difficult to get into a flow.

‘It was disappointing we didn’t create more clear cut chances but we knew it would be stop start like that.

‘It was the first game and we need to look forward to Saturday now at Solihull.

‘Everyone was disappointed coming in on Monday and no-one likes to lose but they’ve been very good this week.’

While the lack of in-play time at Southend may be an extreme example, Premier League teams do not fare much better.

Seven of the ten top-flight matches to take place last weekend features less than an hour of gametime with the ball in play. 

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