PAUL DAVIES reckons it’s time to blow the whistle on the standard of refereeing in the juniors.
Newmains United drew 3-3 despite having Davies’ co-manager Craig Gupwell sent off five minutes into the second half.
Whistler Michael MacDermid flashed a second yellow in Gupwell’s direction after he answered back to a supporter immediately after Marc Howson had put United 3-1 up from the spot.
Davies reckons MacDermid missed other decisions too and has called on the Scottish Junior Football Association to explore the levels of officiating.
He said: “Refereeing must be one of the hardest jobs in the world. I’m extremely grateful to the guys who give up their Saturday to do it.
“I hate criticising them and I will only ever do it when we haven’t been beat. But the SJFA must look at the standard that’s coming through the semi-professional ranks as this is the future for the senior game.
“We had Craig sent off for a second yellow card which changed the game against Muirkirk. I’ve no complaints about his first yellow but the second was for answering back to an away supporter who had verbally abused our players for 90 minutes.
“I’m not sure what rule that comes under. If there is a rule then I’ll hold my hands up. The referee also denied us a stonewall penalty.
“The Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has spoken about referees struggling to understand the game. I sympathise with him because it’s cost us this time. I’d love to see the referees’ supervisors’ reports which are submitted on these referees.”
Muirkirk were chasing a win to keep their promotion hopes alive and debutant Nicky Aitchison gave them the perfect start by putting them in front in just the fourth minute.
But United took just ten minutes to bounce back, as Liam Sneddon’s brilliant backheel caught everyone out to level.
Nicky-Ray Watson then put United in front on 21 minutes before visiting keeper Ahmed El Mahdi cleaned out man-of-the-match Martin Janik inside the box as he attempted to get on the end of a Howson up-and-under.
Howson kept his cool to net the penalty but then Gupwell lost his and was sent on his way. It was backs against the wall from then on and it took just five minutes for the Ayrshire side to pull one back.
Stephen Campbell found space inside the box and saw his strike blocked by Craig Scott’s hand from point blank range and David Edwards sent Martyn Meek the wrong way from the spot.
Just after the hour the scores were level again as Meek allowed Aitchison’s long range drive to squirm under his body.
Jordan Conlon nodded against the bar in the dying seconds as Muirkirk pushed for a winner but United held on to move up to 13th in League Two.
Davies added: “On our own performance we were comfortable and should have finished the game with three points. The sending off changed the chances of that.”
PHOTOS EDITED BY Emily Bell
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