REFEREE Alan Black is the latest official to come under fire from an Irish League boss, writes Alex Mills.
Dungannon Swifts chief Darren Murphy confronted the Antrim whistler after turning down what appeared to be a ‘nailed –on’ penalty decision deep into injury time in the Premier League game against Glentoran at the Oval.
Substitute Jamie Glackin buckled under a challenge from Glens’ midfielder Stephen Carson, but Mr Black wasn’t impressed.
To make matters worse, the Glens bagged the winner just seconds before the spot kick controversy when Andy Waterworth gobbled up his ninth goal of the season.
Murphy was also in a rage because Swifts star man, defender Emmet Friars, was off the pitch receiving treatment on a head wound – he was ordered to the dugout by the referee.
Mr Black then flashed a red card at Swifts substitute Sean Friars on the way to the dressing room.
“I just don’t know how he didn’t give the penalty – it beggars belief,” moaned Murphy. “It’s now like a broken record – a manager of an Irish League talking about another big decision.
“If I keep making mistakes as a manager, I’ll not be in a job. If players keep making mistakes, they’ll not be in the team. When a referee makes a mistake, I just don’t know what happens. Is he accountable to anyone?
“The Irish League managers’ association and the referees’ forum meet once a year – that’s not enough. At the moment, there is no relationship. Ask any manager, and they’ll tell you the same thing.
“Just look at the headlines over the past three or four weeks – it’s not about teams or players, it’s about referees. The only way to solve the problem is to get together more often and discuss the problems we have in our game. “
It looked so good for the Swifts when young Josh Cahoon shot them into a 56th minute lead, picking up a botched clearance from Jimmy Callacher before rocketing the ball past Elliott Morris.
But a horrible blunder from Swifts goalkeeper Niall Morgan gifted the Glens a way back into the game five minutes later. Carson’s cross was met by Richard Clarke and his tame header slipped through the hands of the embarrassed shot stopper and crept agonisingly over the line.
Waterworth then struck the winner on 93 minutes. Sean Ward’s shot broke kindly for the big striker and he ballooned the net from close range.
“I can accept defeat when the team gives you an honest shift,” added Murphy. “My lads were brave, worked hard, competed fantastically well and created chances. I’m gutted to lose the way we did.
“Glentoran players went to the referee to get Emmet off the pitch because he had blood seeping from a wound. The referee relented and told him to have treatment. They scored when he was off the pitch. It’s a bit hard to swallow. Then he wasn’t allowed to come back on until all the blood was wiped away – it’s a joke.
“We then regroup. Go up the pitch and have a nailed on penalty kick turned away. I am totally gutted.”