Roe Rovers returned to North West Football on Saturday and learned immediately that it was going to be a tough League and that they still need improving if they are to achieve their goals. Ardmore Reserves the visitors came with a good side and plenty of commitment and certainly deserved at least a point for their endeavour but left with all three due to the ambiguity around the offside rule. Match of the day pundits even argue about it arguing and baffled doesn’t however help managers.
Ardmore certainly let the home side know they where there prepared to win at all costs and the first 25 minutes set the tone. The main dilemma for Rovers returning to Junior football was the fact that anything seems to go in Junior football and it can be difficult to try and play the game it should be if a team is allowed to kick the lining out you. However the ion was made and hopes set aside for strong refereeing. That said following multiple late and often crude challenges unpunished mainly from the Ardmore number 8) Rovers where lucky as Hamlton and Doyle clearly should have been in the book too. After 26 minutes the visitors did take the lead and deservedly so as they had been the better side too. Rovers should have done better clearing the danger but Ardmore slipped a good ball down the left channel and scored. Matti Hamilton almost replied immediately with a cracking 30 yarder that was top corner bound but the keeper did brilliantly to tip it away. A difficult first and a fair reflection at 0-1.
Ardmore started the second half with 2 half chances in the opening 3 minutes. Gerdy OKane then should have levelled things five minutes after the restart with Rovers first move of any quality. Tony Clyde and Conor Mullan combined on the half way line and sent O’Kane with a clear run on goal. O’Kane hasn’t got the pace he once had and the defender was able to make up a few yards and make the striker shoot earlier than he would have liked and the defendr got a deflection on it. The ball broke to skipper Brendan McGonigle who looked sure to score and hit his shot with plenty of power but the keeper got an outstretched shin to save. The fouls continued from number 8 and number 10 and matched with off the ball shoving and kicking the ball away Rovers frustration continued. Just before the hour mark Rovers levelled Denim Wray with a very impressive run on the right riding two challenges and getting to the byline and cutting a low centre that Tony Clyde finished. 1-1.
A minute later and Rovers scored again young jack McGonigle who had been switched to the left wing with a goal all his own making. He picked the ball up just inside the half ran down the line cut inside and from outside the box fired into the roof of the net, 2-1. Ardmore however didn’t deserve to be trailing and rectified things two minutes later a cross decived Bob Ewing in nets and despite the shout of keepers he didn’t get to it and a header lopped 30 feet in the air and landed in the net, 2-2.
Rovers felt they had the first of two clear penalty shouts when Gerdy O’Kane raced into the box and with a man on his back practically dragging him down it seemed a spot kick was certain but the ref waved away the appeals. Ardmore immediately broke from this and should have scored but when one on one the striker blazed high wide and handsomely over. Brendan McGonigle cut one back and O’Kane was the man in the right place but he seemed to slip and couldnt supply the final touch. Conor Mullan had cracking effort just wide of the top corner and Ardmore where attacking frequently and got to the byline and pulled a good ball back but no one had kept up with the wide man. With 15 minutes left the moment of controversy that sealed Rovers fate. Two players broke and the ball was played into the striker on the left with goalkeeper to beat and his partner ahead of him so he shot trying to knock it over the keeper. Bob Ewing managed to get a fingertip to the ball as it went over his head but the other striker ran in and finished it off. With no defenders in view at all the obvious offside whistle never came. The referee said that because the goalkeeper touched the ball then the player offside was now not offside?
We contacted asktheref.com for clarification. Asking “is it true that there is now no offside offense if the player who is in an offside position receives the ball from rebound” ?
The answer provided was – “IT IS NOT TRUE, A player who is in an offside position and then plays the ball after it deflects off a defender or after the ball rebounds off a goalpost or crossbar IS GUILTY of infringing the offside law for “gaining an advantage”. To reset offside position the ball must be possessed and controlled(in the opinion of the referee) by an opponent. A deflection is not enough. Offside position is determined at the moment the ball last was touched or played by a teammate, however, and not when the ball is deflected or rebounded.
This rule needs clarity throughout the game and everyone needs to follow the same rules. The referee on this occasion got it very wrong costing Rovers a goal at a crucial point but yes referees are human and this one took the time and explained his decision. With 3 minutes left Ardmore won a corner and the inswinger was unchallenged and tapped in to make it 4-2. There was still time for more drama as Alan Tweedy Nicholl was played in on goal . Alan got the ball knocked around the keeper as the keeper came sliding out and clattered him. The ref said he felt Alan was already going down and then gave a corner? Not the best day at the office for the referee but also a poor day from Rovers also they made as many mistakes if not more than the referee with too many sluggish players, too many long balls and too many missed chances. In the end a draw was the fairest outcome but Rovers willhave to suck it up, get knuckled down to training and regroup for Churchill next week.
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