Ruaidhri Higgins says referee admitted mistake as Jamie McGonigle's goal is chalked off against Sligo
RUAIDHRI Higgins revealed match referee Adriano Reale held his hands up and admitted he got the decision to rule out Jamie McGonigle's first half goal against Sligo Rovers 'completely wrong'.
The Derry City boss darted into the referee's dressing room immediately after the match to challenge the official on his potential match-changing decision which Higgins felt cost his team two points against Sligo Rovers.
Higgins was seething with Mr Reale for not playing advantage when Ollie O'Neill was fouled by John Mahon after 10 minutes as McGonigle quickly raced onto the ball, glided past his marker and fired clinically into the net.
The referee initially appeared to signal 'play on' but as McGonigle shot on goal the whistle was finally blown after a lengthy delay - a decision which infuriated the home support.
The Candy Stripes were in the ascendancy at that stage of the match and while Higgins praised the referee for his 'refreshing' honesty during a discussion after the game, it was no consolation for the City supremo.
"I've just left the referee's room there now and he's held his hands up and admitted he got it completely wrong," revealed Higgins. "They would have to come out and it opens it up so it's a big, big decision that's completely gone against us when we're playing well in the game. We were completely in the ascendancy.
"In fairness to him it's probably the first time a referee openly admitted he got it completely wrong which is actually refreshing. It's what you want to hear, a wee bit of honesty and he was good in there when we had a chat but it's little consolation I suppose.
"We were definitely on the wrong end of one tonight and the wrong end of one last week as well. It's disappointing and we don't seem to get many big decision up this part of the country."
Higgins was also annoyed that Sligo midfielder, Mahon stayed on the pitch despite an 'accumulation of fouls', particularly given Greg Sloggett was also fortunate not to see red in the scoreless draw against Dundalk last week for a series of cynical, strategic fouls.
"I didn't stay calm. I let my feelings be known. He's human as well to be fair to him but I was surprised that the lad in question (Mahon) seen half-time because he stopped a counter attack as well with his hand and had a couple of other fouls. Similar to last week so we were unfortunate we weren't playing against 10 men.
"Again, we had enough time from that moment on for our performance to be better and tonight we probably just lacked a bit of spark and edge abut our play. We've taken a point but we need to be doing more to win these type of games.
"We just accept it and move on. We have a couple of weeks now to dust ourselves down and go again.”