Gardyne feels referee sparked pivotal point at Dens Park
NEITHER side went home happy after an entertaining afternoon at Dens Park, with both left feeling aggrieved that they had not taken three points and that they had been let down by refereeing decisions.
The real turning point in the match came in the 53rd minute when the Ross County captain Andrew Davies was shown a second yellow card for a foul on James McPake inside the area.
County had started the second half with a two-goal advantage after a ruthless opening 45 minutes that highlighted their credentials as genuine contenders for a European spot.
Liam Boyce and Michael Gardyne netted either side of a McPake own goal, with Greg Stewart having cancelled out Boyce’s opener.
County seemed to be in control but suddenly their lead was halved as Rory Loy slotted home the penalty and they faced playing the best part of 40 minutes with 10 men.
Jim McIntyre, the manager, felt the penalty was “extremely soft” and was left wondering why Dundee’s Kevin Thomson remained on the pitch for Dundee despite committing a series of fouls after he had already been booked.
This sentiment was shared by Gardyne who scored three minutes before the break with a header over Scott Bain from a Jackson Irvine cross.
“Kevin Thomson was booked and then he gave away three or four fouls after that,” Gardyne said. “I think his foul on Jackson Irvine, the referee obviously played on but he should have brought it back and booked him again. Obviously Paul Hartley [the Dundee manager] was tuned in and took him off as he knew it should have been a red.
“It’s just disappointing because I felt we were cruising at half-time. We were 3-1 up and when it was 11 against 11. I thought we were in their faces and doing really well. But we showed our resilient side in the second half, working hard with 10 men, and we definitely showed what we are all about.”
When Dundee levelled in the 69th minute courtesy of a first-time shot by Loy, it seemed inevitable they would go on to win the game but the visitors reorganised well and restricted the hosts to only a few clear sights of goal.
There was, however, a penalty shout for Dundee in the 75th minute that left Hartley frustrated. Stewart drove into the box and went down under a challenge from substitute Stewart Murdoch. Referee Craig Thomson was close to the incident and waved away the forward’s protests.
Riccardo Calder, who made his full debut for Dundee after joining on loan from Aston Villa, was also close by and was adamant his side should have had a second spot-kick. “It was definitely a penalty,” said the midfielder. “Greg had got past the defender and he would have had a shot on goal so there was no reason for him to go down.”
Despite the sense of frustration at not finding a winner against 10 men, Calder accepted that coming back from two goals down to get a point was a positive result, especially after the hammering at the hands of Celtic last weekend.
He added: “It was hard for us losing six goals last week and then coming in at half-time 3-1 down. To bring it back then nearly win the game at the end showed we have got a lot of character.”
RED RAG: Thomson’s dismissal of Davies was a controversial decision