DERRY CITY: Keith Long blasts referee for ‘dubious’ penalty award

Match referee Robert Harvey, pictured booking Bohemian's Dylan Hayes, awarded Derry City a second half penalty at Maginn Park.' 'Photo by Lorcan Doherty/Presseye.com
Match referee Robert Harvey, pictured booking Bohemian's Dylan Hayes, awarded Derry City a second half penalty at Maginn Park.' 'Photo by Lorcan Doherty/Presseye.com

BOHEMIANS boss, Keith Long blasted match referee, Robert Harvey for his decision to award Derry City a second half penalty which ended his side’s chances of getting anything from Friday night’s match at Maginn Park.

Long was furious when the match official pointed to the spot on 66 minutes as Bohs defender Dan Byrne upended City fullback Ben Doherty, as he felt the initial contact was made outside the penalty area.

His opposite number, Kenny Shiels agreed in his post-match interview that Derry were fortunate to be awarded the spot-kick which secured a much needed win as the clinical Aaron McEneff netted his third penalty of the season - albeit at the second attempt!

But Long felt the referee was in no position to award the decision and stressed the significance of getting those sorts of calls wrong.

“The second goal is very borderline if anything,” claimed Long. “For me it’s not a penalty. The initial contact is outside the box and momentum brings the players into the box. The referee is 30 yards away from play and looking through bodies and he makes the decision quite quickly in my opinion.

“The referee needs to be 100 per cent and can’t speculate on decisions like that. That’s gone against us and it’s disappointing. It’s not good enough actually.

The referee needs to be 100 per cent and can’t speculate on decisions like that. That’s gone against us and it’s disappointing. It’s not good enough actually.

Keith Long

“We’re looking to improve the standards across the league and it’s too important to get those decisions wrong. It’s vital.

In truth, whether the penalty was awarded or not, a Bohemians comeback was unlikely as they offered little in terms of an attacking threat. And Long accepted his side lacked the necessary quality to take anything from Maginn Park. And with three teams facing the drop this season, Bohemians are in real danger.

“We’re scrapping, we’re trying really hard on limited resources but we haven’t done enough and our quality has let us down at times, particularly in the final third. We’re without our main two strikers and our captain but when they’re available we’ll be a match for anyone when we have a goalscoring threat.

“We didn’t do enough to win the game and I think it was a little bit easy for Derry to come away with the points.

“We wanted to be aggressive and pinch the ball back in good areas of the pitch. When we did that our lack of quality and penetration in the final third just let us down.”

Did the 4-1 defeat to Derry at Dalymount on the opening day of the 2017 campaign, where Bohs were picked off on the counter attack, effect how he set his team up for this encounter?

“Ironically enough, had we played as well as we did in the first game we would’ve won this game. I thought we were better and lost 4-1 in Dalymount - certainly for 65 minutes.”

Derry have won all of their last six meetings against Bohemians but did Long think it was the best chance to get a positive result with the Candy Stripes coming into the game without a win in seven?

“We knew it was going to be difficult coming up here,” he said. “Derry have some fantastic players and a lot of good young players by the looks of things and I’d say they’re a pleasure to work with.

“Obviously confidence is a little bit brittle with those guys at the moment but unfortunately we haven’t helped ourselves.

“We can complain but there’s not an awful lot we can do about it. We have to look ahead to the big Dublin derby next week and we just refocus for that and get ourselves going again.”