Dust-up puts promotion on hold
SIL SOCCER: Crane Sports confirmed a top two finish with a 2-1 victory over Coplestonians in the First Division of the Metaltec SIL. Or did they?According to referee Irvin Flaherty Saturday's match was curtailed one and a half minutes early after a free-for all.
By Elvin King
CRANE Sports confirmed a top two finish with a 2-1 victory over Coplestonians in the First Division of the Metaltec SIL. Or did they?
According to referee Irvin Flaherty Saturday's match was curtailed one and a half minutes early after a free-for all.
"I decided that in the best interests of the innocent players and myself it was wise to call a halt early," said Flaherty today.
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"There was six minutes stoppage time, and I had only played four and a half. There was a brawl and it was not safe to carry on."
One young Coplestonians player had his nose broken in a match where five players were sent off – three from Coplestonians and two from Cranes.
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Alan Gorham, chief executive of the SIL, says that the referee can make a report to the Suffolk Football Association.
"At the moment I am considering the game was completed," he said.
And Coplestonians manager Dave Little confirmed that he did not want the match played again.
He said: "Good luck to Crane Sports in the next division. We don't want to play them again."
With ten minutes to go Coplestonians led 1-0 in a game where Crane Sports needed a draw to be certain of finishing in the top two. They play their home games at the YM Sports ground at Rushmere and their facilities must come up to scratch before any promotion to senior football is confirmed.
"The referee gave Cranes what we thought was a dubious penalty," added Little. "The game went pear-shaped after that.
"There was a lot resting on the game and it all came out once the equaliser had gone in. We were down to ten men by the time Cranes went ahead.
"We played them the previous week and it was another competitive game. This ended 1-1. This time everything boiled over."
Flaherty said: "I will leave it up to Mr Gorham and the county FA what action to take. There was a lot riding on the game and when the penalty went in there was a pressure release.
"It sent tempers over the top and most players were piling in. They were punching and kicking each other, and it was very disappointing that a fiercely contested game should end in this way.
"I felt for Coplestonians as they battled away for 80 minutes and probably deserved to win."
If the referee insists the game was unfinished then it will probably have to be played again. We will have to wait and see.