Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson called for better dialogue between Irish League managers and referees after Saturday’s loss to Glentoran.
The Sky Blues boss was critical at the performance of referee John Deighan as United were undone by Ciaran Caldwell’s goal at the Showgrounds.
“It wasn’t even that it was decisions that he couldn’t see or the fourth official or the linesmen couldn’t see, the bottom line is Stephen McAlorum has tackled from behind and taken a player (Matthew Shevlin) out, which in some occasions is a straight red by the letter of the law,” said Ferguson.
“I don’t want to see players getting sent off but it’s at least a yellow and he’d already been booked earlier to that would be a second yellow. Subsequently the same player is back defending for Glentoran and heads the ball out for a corner and the linesman in his wisdom decides to give a by-ball.
“That’s just two of the decisions. Gavin Taggart got a yellow card for a coming together when he and Stephen McAlorum ran into each other and Glentoran got a free-kick. He then did a tackle afterwards and if the referee had had the nerve to send Stephen McAlorum off he would have had to send Gavin off but two wrongs don’t make a right.
“The managers used to go and talk to referees, which was before my time, but I’m led to believe that referees felt intimidated because there were too many managers.
“At the start of last season, myself, David Jeffrey, Gary Hamilton and Whitey Anderson were invited to the referees’ meeting, which resulted in 50 referees and only myself and Davy, so if there’s any intimidation I think we were slightly out-numbered!
“We need to sit down and have dialogue with referees and officials and managers because the gap of communication and friendship is widening, there’s no doubt about it because managers are coming out and speaking the truth.
On the match itself, Ferguson said: “I’m gutted, there’s no doubt we deserved something from that game.
“The amount of play we had, even the chances we had in the first-half. We probably had more clear-cut chances in the first-half and more of the play in the second, with Matthew Shevlin having a couple of half chances. We hit the crossbar again (through Gavin Taggart) and had plenty of chances so to come away with a 1-0 defeat is hard to take when you play and give so much and get nothing.
“On another day a chance might have gone our way, some decisions might have gone our way, and we may have got a different result.”