Stephen Bradley reckons Shamrock Rovers were 'clever' as multi-ball system aids controversial equaliser

SHAMROCK ROVERS boss Stephen Bradley claimed he would be more upset with his players for 'switching off' at a throw-in than taking advantage of the multi-ball system when questioned about his side's controversial equaliser against Derry City at Tallaght Stadium.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 9:31 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th May 2021, 9:32 pm
James Akintunde is brought down for a penalty at the start of the second half in Tallaght by Sean Hoare. Picture by Kevin Moore.

The champions fought back to earn a point and extend their record breaking unbeaten run when Rory Gaffney latched onto a quickly taken throw-in, outmuscled Cameron McJannet and fired his shot into the far corner of the net to cancel out Will Patching's penalty early in the second half.

However, Derry players felt aggrieved as Liam Scales took advantage of the multi-ball rule which ensures games flow better by taking the throw-in some distance from where the ball had gone out of play.

Bradley had no complaints with how his side's goal came about and felt Rovers got their just rewards for Scales' 'clever', quick-thinking actions.

"It was clever from Liam (Scales)," said the Dubliner. "Obviously the Derry players went for the ball that went out and Liam picked it up and played it. It's really clever and we got our rewards in the end.

"We play every week and I think most players play it every week. You'll see it almost every week where players take the nearest ball. I think if we're going to start asking the referee to spray where the ball goes out I think we're in trouble. I think Liam is very clever. He sees it early and hurts them. Like I said it's every game every week up and down the country every single week you'll see that.

"I would be more upset with my players for switching off to be fair rather than the referee. We all know the multi-balls are there. You're told that in advance of the game that it's there and there for both teams. So it's no surprises. I wouldn't be disappointed with the referee, I would be disappointed with my players," he insisted.

Bradley felt his team deserved to win the game comfortably having missed several gilt-edged chances, particularly at the end of the first half when Gaffney forced a terrific close range save from Nathan Gartside.

"We're really disappointed I think we should've won the game quite comfortably if you look at our chances. We had four or five really good chances to win the game. Not difficult chances, really clear cut. Alan (Mannus) hasn't had a save to make in 90 minutes and when you look at that you should win the game quite comfortably.

"Credit to Derry they came, sat deep and worked extremely hard so credit to Derry but the chances we had we should win the game by a couple of goals. Rory's one, Sean's one, the two headers, we should've won it quite comfortably."

Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins was 'proud' of his team's performance as the Candy Stripes clinched a seventh point from a possible nine on the road since the Limavady man took charge, however, he had a completely different view of the equalising goal than Bradley.

"How I seen it was probably how everyone else seen it," said Higgins. "He's (Scales) taken a throw in probably 20 yards from where it should've been. It's disappointing because I thought (referee) Graham Kelly had a very good game. I thought he was good in the game. We all make mistakes and I've made plenty of them. Listen, that's the way it goes."