Sunday 26 May 2019

Referee blows up early as red mist descends

Woodview 2 Donacarney 2 (Abandoned 69 mins)

A win would have put Woodview top of the table. But after struggling and recovering from two goals in arrears the game was abruptly abandoned by referee Brian Murphy with just over 20 minutes left at the DKIT ground.

The official took the dramatic decision after a fraught couple of minutes with a disputed free-kick generating heated controversy. Stephen Grimes rolled the free into the corner of the net to equalize from directly in front of goal at the edge of the 18 yard line, catching Donacarney completely on the hop.

This led to an angry re-action and Graham Duffy who took over the goalkeeper's jersey for Donacarney in the second half was shown a red card by the referee.

With tempers still boiling the play was then within a minute or so stopped for a Donacarney player to receive attention to his head near where the controversial free took place.

A stern warning was issued by the referee to the Donacarney official who attended the player and he proceeded then to blow the full time whistle. Amid the chaos a Donacarney player approached to say his piece on matters and the referee waved his red card again to him.

The League Committee now is left to sort out the crux, with the likelihood that a replay of the match will result.

Woodview were fortunate to be level with a rash high tackle in the penalty box allowing them back into the game after 23 minutes. They were awarded a penalty which Conor Macken tucked into the corner of the net to make it 2-1.

They made a lackadaisical start, and conceded twice and were fortunate not to be further behind after the opening ten minutes.

Andy Gray headed off his line and the game barely started, and with their defence at sixes and sevens Graham Duffy put Donacarney ahead after seven minutes when Joe Judge made an incisive break into the box and laid the back to his colleague in front of goal

Two minutes later Aidan Murphy's shot from outside the box deflected off Gray and entered the net for the visitors' second goal. It was a fitting personal reward for the manner in which the visitors' playmaker orchestrated play from midfield.

The visitors played with a verve and energy that one would have expected of the hosts chasing the top spot. There was more structure to their play, while Woodview relied on the individual effort and flair of Conor Macken, Dylan Thornton and Owen Armstrong.

Barely ten minutes elapsed when Duffy all alone in front of goal headed off the crossbar from George Histolov's cross after the latter was put into wide open space on the right wing.

Donacarney showed all the signs of a side that finished the North East League on a high, winning the O'Neill Shield, and reached the semi- final of the Leinster Junior Shield as well as the quarter-finals of the Fitzsimons Cup.

Woodview started to ask questions and posed danger on a number of occasions without troubling the visitors goalkeeper before they got the much needed break with Gerry Birmingham's dangerous tackle.

They should have equalised on 37 minutes when Owen Armstrong with the most astute and incisive of passes split the centre of the Donacarney defence and sent Chris Mullen racing clear through into the box, but he pulled his low shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

But a few minutes later home goalkeeper Sean Smith brought off a point blank save in front of his goal line from Duffy, as his defence was ripped apart by Joe Judge and Histolov.

Donacarney remained the better team after the break, and Grimes made a potentially goal saving interception before stroking in the equaliser that stirred high emotions and resulted in the premature end of the match.

Woodview: Sean Smith, Dermot Grier, Andy Gray (Jason Myles 60), Craig Dixon, Stephen Grimes. Gavin Gaffey, Dylan Thornton, Owen Armstrong. Conor Macken, Stephen Begley, Chris Mullen (Robbie Mackin 60). Other subs Shane Derry, Daniel Mulligan.

Donacarney: Solo Sonogo (Sean Sanders 55), Senan Ryan (Patrick Nally 49), Gerry Birmingham (Leon Comberton 39), Jack Tuenstead, Dylan Myles, Eric O'Brien, Joe Judge, Aidan Murphy (Dylan Scully 53), Graham Duffy, Aaron Daly, Geroge Histolov. Other subs Jordan Judge, Aaron Dale.

The Argus