Derry City's Brian Maher shocked by referee Adriano Reale's decision
Derry City’s Brian Maher conceded he had never seen a decision like the one referee Adriano Reale took to chalk off Jamie McGonigle’s goal against Sligo Rovers, on Friday night.
Just as McGonigle let fly the Dublin native, for whatever reason decided to bring the ball back to where John Mahon had fouled Ollie O’Neill some 20 yards from goal, this despite originally letting play continue.
For the second game running the match official made a big call, which the Candy Stripes felt changed the match. Against Dundalk former City midfielder Greg Sloggett was fortunate not to be dismissed for two bookable offences and on Friday evening, Mahon, who was cautioned for his foul on O’Neill, was lucky not to receive a second yellow after handling the ball on the half-way line when Derry captain Patrick McEleney was breaking forward.
After the game, manager Ruaidhrí Higgins along with assistant Alan Reynolds went straight to the officials room and came out to say that Mr Reale admitted he got the decision to rule out McGonigle's goal 'completely wrong’.
The Derry number one, like everyone at the game, couldn’t believe that Reale decided to bring the ball back after initially giving a superb advantage to the home side.
"Those incidents changes the game completely in my eyes,” insisted Maher.
"I think whatever about the Sloggett one last week, because that's probably up in the air, but I have never seen a decision like it tonight. I think it cost us big time, especially because of the time in the game.
"If we go 1-0 up then it's a completely different game and then you find yourself 1-0 down pretty soon after it. I think no one in the ground understands why it has happened.
"He gave us the advantage and at the time it's a brilliant advantage, because we're in on goal, but just as Jamie goes to hit it, for some reason he has blown it back, so I think it has cost us a little bit tonight."
The 22-year-old was frustrated after the 1-1 draw against John Russell’s side, because he felt again they did enough particularly in the first half to win the encounter. He also believes that the entire squad need to do more to start securing more victories at the Brandywell this year and he was pleased that Ciaran Coll continued his recent good form by heading home the equaliser.
"It was very frustrating, because it's a game we obviously want to be winning and probably in the end should have won and a few bits have gone against us as well, especially in the first half and I think everyone could see that,” he added.
"We need our home form to be better. I think last year there was obviously a lot of talk about it but look it's down to us players and staff, we need to keep going and I'm sure the results will come, because we have an unbelievable backing from the supporters in every game.
"I think there hasn't been many games here that we haven't deserved to win, so it's just about turning those games into three points now if we can.
"As I said it's frustrating that we haven't won our last two games and it's not just down to the referee's decision, we know ourselves we need to be better, we know that we need to put teams away.
"I think we started the game really well and we were really on top, so I think if we can start putting teams away, the points will start to rack up and that's on us as a team, it's not just the players in the attacking areas, it's everyone.
"Coll has chipped in with a brilliant goal tonight and we need more of that. I thought he was outstanding but everyone needs to start chipping in and we need to start putting a run together and especially here, we need to make the Brandywell a bit more of a fortress.”
Six games into the season and champions Shamrock Rovers are still searching for the first victory of the campaign and Maher admits he’s disappointed that the Brandywell men haven’t opened up a bigger gap over Stephen Bradley’s side.
Derry currently sit in second spot, three points behind Declan Devine’s league leaders Bohemians and seven ahead of the Tallaght men, but the former Republic of Ireland under 21 international feels Derry have missed a chance to move further ahead of the Hoops.
Maher was quick to point out that there isn’t much between most teams in the top division, as results have proven in the early part of the season and while City were aiming for a victory over the Bit O’Red on Friday, maintaining their unbeaten start to season was some sort of consolation for Ruaidhrí Higgins’ squad, as they remain the only side in the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division not to suffer a defeat, as the top flight now goes into the international break.
"Yeah we wanted to open the gap further,” explained Maher. “And as they (Shamrock Rovers) haven't won yet you would have hoped to have maybe opened up a bigger gap, but I think everyone can see it's a very competitive league, teams are taking points off everyone and I suppose if you can't win, don't lose it, but tonight (Friday) I think it's a game we wanted to win.”