It’s not often you get a manager lavishing praise on a referee following a call in an Irish League game, but Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy was singing the praises of whistler John Deighan on Saturday.
With the game at the Coleraine Showgrounds perched on a knife edge, with the Swifts leading by a goal to nil going into the crucial last 10 minutes, Stefan Lavery rifled home to put his team 2-0 up.
However, the assistant referee raised his flag to chalk off the goal for offside. Deighan was quick to overrule his linesman, as he had spotted it was Coleraine skipper Michael Hegarty who had inadvertently played Lavery in on goal and the goal was given much to Murphy’s delight.
“Managers come out after games and lambaste referees rightly or wrongly,” said the Swifts boss.
“People are very critical when they make a mistake, but I think you also have to give them a pat on the back when they do the right thing.
“The referee made a fantastic decision today, which will probably go unnoticed by a lot of people.
“Everyone else thought it was offside, and only him from the position he was in was able to see that Michael Hegarty headed the ball back. So credit were credit’s due as that was the goal which got us home.”
The Bannsiders probably had the better of the chances in the game but their failure to convert them into goals along with giving away soft goals gave the visitors the spoils.
“We came here today feeling that we were more than capable of getting a win,” said Murphy.
“And I’m very pleased that we have been able to do that. I thought we played very well in what was very difficult conditions for both sets of teams.
“But I thought that our guys probably adapted to things that wee bit better and got the rub of the green when you need it.
“I always think it’s difficult when Coleraine are attacking the shed end in the second half because it’s like the ball gets sucked in there by the fans.
“I never liked the second half here when I was a player, even if you were winning. And to be fair to Coleraine they started the second half like that. They had a few half chances which they didn’t take and it gave us a bit of belief.
“It was a one goal game and whoever got it would be in the box seat, fortunately for me it fell in my favour.”
Coleraine boss Oran Kearney is confident things will turn around despite slipping to a seventh straight defeat.
“Of course you’re concerned when you are on a run like this and it’s not easy to take,” he said.
“Losing can become a habit just like winning can become a habit and I’ve come through some great times here when we’ve gone on winning runs.
“But from what I’ve watched today we’re not far away.”