Monday 19 March 2018

Cook fumes over controversial penalty decision

Bohemians may have ended up doing arch-rivals Shamrock Rovers a huge favour on Saturday night as they came from behind at the Showgrounds to put a huge dent in Sligo Rovers' title bid.

The result leaves the Bit O'Red three points behind Michael O'Neill's Hoops with a game more played.

Sligo boss Paul Cook was left infuriated with the nature of the defeat, having seen a controversial late penalty decision go against his side for the second game in a row.

This time around, referee Alan Kelly spotted a foul on a Bohemians player from a corner that Rovers 'keeper Brendan Clarke had safely gathered with 16 minutes left.

Rovers were ahead at the time, but Cook opted to keep his feelings to himself after the game to avoid the possibility of a reprimand.

"I don't want to speak about the penalty decision," said Cook. "With the best will in the world, I think the less we say about it the better, because I will just get into trouble. Everyone can make up their own mind. There is not a Bohemians player on the pitch that appeals for a penalty. Yet for some reason, a penalty is given.

"We weren't playing particularly great at the time, but of course it changes the game."

The decision caught the 1,875 crowd at the game by surprise. Substitute Matthew Blinkhorn was booked for holding Owen Heary inside the area and Killian Brennan smashed home the resulting penalty.

The goal rocked the home side, who had taken an 11th-minute lead when Gavin Peers headed home unmarked from close range, after a Joseph Ndo corner.

With Rovers stung and going in search of a winner, Bohs capitalised to claim all the points. Aidan Downes raced clear from inside his own half on a counter-attack on 82 minutes and skated around Brendan Clarke before squeezing the ball home from a seemingly impossible angle.

Bohs boss Pat Fenlon refused to speak to the press after the game, but Cook praised the victors.

"I think you have got to give great credit to Bohemians," he said. "They have come to the Showgrounds twice now and won. They are full of hunger and desire and passion to do well. I think that is great credit to Pat and his staff that he sets his team out like that."

As for his own team, Cook added: "It is up to us as a group to get together and start picking up results. There are 10 games to go for us and all we can do is to try our best to win each one."

Sligo RVS -- Clarke, Russell, Peers, McGuinness, Powell, Cretaro (Blinkhorn 55), Ryan, Kirby (Dillon 76), Ndo, Davoren (Greene 68), Doyle.

Bohemians -- Murphy, Heary, Burns, Price, Cahill, Forrester (Rossiter 63), Buckley (Flood 83), Cronin, O'Brien, Brennan, Downes.

Ref -- A Kelly (Cork).

Irish Independent

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