Dragons filthy over poor ref de­ci­sions

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

THE Verri In­dus­tries Dou­glas United Dragons are “filthy” for per­ceived poor ref­er­ee­ing which they claim cost them vic­tory for the sec­ond week in a row.

The Dragons drew 3-3 with Le­ichardt on Sunday night and have again missed an op­por­tu­nity to climb up the lad­der to­wards the top four play-off po­si­tions and re­main­ing in sixth place, al­beit with a game in hand, which they blame on “three ter­ri­ble pieces of ref­er­ee­ing.

Again the Dragons were quick out of the blocks when a long clear­ance from Gary Fitzger­ald found striker Matty Smith and the re­sult­ing goal mouth scram­ble al­lowed Nick Houghton to tuck home his sec­ond goal in as many weeks.

Le­ichardt then forced a num­ber of cor­ners how­ever it was an error that al­lowed them to tie the game up.

Dragons cen­tre half Lo­gan Marsh was caught in pos­ses­sion and the Le­ichardt striker smashed the ball home from the edge of the box.

The Dragons started the sec­ond half slowly and were again forced to de­fend a num­ber of cor­ners be­fore begin­ning to as­sert them­selves.

They were re­warded for put­ting pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion keeper when a deep free kick was turned into their own net by a Le­ichardt defender to re­store the Dragons’ ad­van­tage.

With the Dragons un­able to sup­ply the knock­out blow it was Le­ichardt’s turn to ap­ply the pres­sure and when a rel­a­tively in­nocu­ous ball was played into the area the Dragons thought they had dealt with the dan­ger only for the ref­eree to leave both sets of play­ers ut­terly gob­s­macked by award­ing a penalty for an ap­par­ent push in the back.

This was only the begin­ning of the atro­cious ref­er­ee­ing as keeper Gary Fitzger­ald stepped up and bril­liantly saved the spot kick only for the as­sis­tant ref­eree to flag, say­ing that Fitzger­ald had moved off his line.

Un­for­tu­nately the re­take was ham­mered past the de­spair­ing Dragons keeper to make the score 2-2.

The Dragons were once more forced to push for­ward on search of a po­ten­tial win­ning goal.

Matt Hod­kin played in Houghton from a quick free kick down the Dragons right with Houghton flash­ing a cross across the face of goal where Ciaran Le­mon was on hand to tuck the ball into the corner of the net to again put the Dragons in front with the clock wind­ing down.

How­ever with time nearly up there was still time for one more piece of di­a­bol­i­cal ref­er­ee­ing to spoil the Dragons’ night.

A per­fectly le­gal chal­lenge was called up for a foul and from the re­sult­ing free kick Marsh missed his clear­ance al­low­ing a Le­ichardt player to fin­ish in the bot­tom corner and tie the scores up for the fi­nal time on the night.

There was still time for one last twist though as Houghton bore down on goal and went to go around the keeper but was up­ended, re­sult­ing in the Le­ichardt keeper be­ing sent from the field.

Ian Marsh’s re­sult­ing free kick hit the wall and bounced to Matt Hill whose shot smacked off the out­side post.

While it was still a point won for the Dragons it was an empty feel­ing in the chang­ing sheds af­ter­wards know­ing that they had been cheated out of three points.

The Paddy’s Bar Man of the Match went to Matt Hod­kin who per­formed well at right back and com­bined well with Matt Hill in front of him.

Next up for the Dragons is a trip to sec­ond placed Mar­lin Coast who are the only un­beaten team in the com­pe­ti­tion.

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