Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium
The Hoops had to come from behind once again to keep their unbeaten run going on Saturday. Their controversial equaliser against Derry City stretched their league run to 33 matches without a loss and their lead at the top of the table to six points.
While it wasn’t a Late Late show goal – Rovers have got dramatic late goals in five games this season – there was plenty of discussion on the manner of their equaliser with differing views from each dugout on the refereeing decision to let the goal stand.
Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins certainly wasn’t happy with Graham Kelly’s decision to allow Liam Scales take a throw in far ahead of where Joe Thompson had deflected the ball out of play.
"It's clear for everyone to see he's taken it 15-20 yards ahead of where it should have been," said Higgins.
As Scales threw the ball in to Rory Gaffney, a second ball was still on the field of play with Ronan Finn flicking it off the pitch. Neither assistant referee Eoin Harte put his flag up for that issue nor did Michelle O’Neill over the far side feel that Scales had taken the throw too far from where it went out.
Gaffney went on to hold off Cameron McJannet to score his fourth of the season.
Higgins certainly felt that the referee should not have let the throw in be taken from that position. “He is a really good referee,” said Higgins about the Cork official. “He had a good performance but we all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty, that’s life.”
Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley called Scales’ thinking “very clever” and Rovers’ players have shown quick thinking a number of times this season to score goals.
Rovers got the benefit of a referee’s touch against Waterford with Danny Mandriou playing a drop ball into Gaffney to score when the Blues players switched off. The Hoops also scored from a quick free kick against Dundalk in Tallaght with Mandroiu taking and finishing the free kick move.
“It was very clever from Liam," said Bradley about Scales' throw in. "The Derry players were waiting for the ball that went out and Liam went and picked another one up and played on. He saw it early, hurt them and we got our reward.
"I would be more upset with my players for switching off to be honest rather than the referee [if it happened to Rovers]. We all know the multi-balls are there. You're told that in advance of the game that it's there and there for both teams. So it's no surprises.
“We play it every week. Players run and take the nearest ball. If we are going to start asking the referee to spray where the ball goes out, we are going to be in trouble.”
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