Finn Harps manager, Peter Hutton has claimed Thomas McBride’s poor disciplinary record and reputation may well work against him this season.
The midfielder was controversially sent off by match referee, Sean Grant in the closing stages of Harps’ superb draw against Waterford at the RSC on Friday night for a challenge on Francis Rockett.
Hutton insisted the match official got the decision badly wrong but added that his team’s positive approach in the second half meant the draw was fully deserved as substitute, Sean McCarron netted the winning strike right at the death.
Hutton claimed McBride is now a “marked man” having served an eight game ban during last season’s campaign and he’s now facing another stint on the sidelines following Friday night’s latest red card.
“It was a very harsh decision to say the least, “said Hutton. “For him (the referee) to say it was a two-footed tackle when the whole stand could see that it was one-footed and he won the ball clean.
“It was his first tackle of the whole game and it’s an absolute disgrace. He has shown great discipline and even on Friday there was an incident in the first half where the guy caught him off the ball with a blow to the face but he dealt with it and he got on and the referee didn’t do a thing about it. Yet he pulls him up with a red card for a tackle. It’s mind blowing - an absolute disgrace.”
Hutton said the club will now consider an appeal but the likelihood is that the Derry midfielder will almost certainly miss this Friday night’s visit of Cobh Ramblers.
“It’s unfortunate, both for Tommy and the team because he’s been exceptional in pre-season and again even on Friday I thought he was top class.”
McBride’s sending off came right at the end of an evenly matched contest but his manager was happy with the overall result.
“It’s a good point,” continued Hutton. “A lot of teams will find it difficult to come here and get anything.”
“Waterford are title favourites, they’ve a good squad here and they did well, particularly in the first half.
“Hopefully now we can take that forward to the Cobh game, particularly our second half performance.”
Hutton also praised the contribution of former Institute and Derry City striker, McCarron who marked his debut with a last gasp goal to secure a share of the points.
“We didn’t have Sean last week because his registration didn’t come through until this week so it was good to have him. It gives us another dimension.
“He linked well with Kevin McHugh and I thought he took his goal exceptionally well. It’s just part of the process now of getting him engrained into what we are trying to do here.”
The visitors fell behind to a Ben Ryan strike on 19 minutes. John Frost made progress down the left before crossing for Vinny Sullivan to glance his header toward the back post where Ryan headed past Ciaran Gallagher.
At the other end Harps struggled to impose themselves although they almost drew level on the half hour when Shaun McGowan just failed to connect with a McBride delivery.
However, they almost fell further behind when Dylan Mernagh’s corner was scrambled off the line. Marc Brolly and Kevin McHugh both had chances as Harps sought a response and McCarron drew a fine save from keeper Craig Hyland from 18 yards.
The visitors were certainly enjoying the better of the contest at this stage and eventually their pressure paid off when in the closing stages McCarron ran onto a long ball before firing under the body of Hyland.
McHugh hit the woodwork with a long range freekick as the game entered injury time and there was even more drama when McBride saw red.
Waterford United - Craig Hyland; Dylan Mernagh, David Breen, Gavin Kavanagh, John Frost, Ben Ryan, Francis Rockett, Peter Higgins (Kevin O’Connor 82), Michael Coady, Paudie Quinn (Paul Quilly 70), Vinny Sullivan.
Finn Harps - Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Matthew Crossan, Thomas McMonagle, Keith Cowan, Michael Funston (Paul McVeigh 82), Tommy McBride, Aaron O’Hagan (Sean McCarron 450, Shaun McGowan, Marc Brolly, Kevin McHugh.
Referee - Mr. Sean Grant.