Lisburn Distillery boss Tim McCann admitted his was ‘gutted’ when Tuesday night’s Irish Cup sixth round tie was abandoned after 60 minutes because of fog.
The Whites were marching to a quarter final slot against Crusaders, courtesy of an Aaron Boyd hat-trick when referee Andrew Davey waved the teams to the dressing room.
Bangor official Davey brought back both sets of players on after 22 minutes, but finally called it day as the conditions had worsened.
“The tie was dead and buried,” roared McCann. “Dundela were berating the referee in the second half to have the match called off.
“It’s so disappointing. You would almost think there was a conspiracy against us at the minute – when you are down, you are certainly down.
“The referee did his best. The players are so disappointed . . . they put the effort in to go 3-0 up. Now we will have to do it all over again. They are already fired up for the replay.”
Dundela manager Mark Snodden conceded his team ‘got out of jail’ when Mr Davey blew it up.
“Let’s just say when we went 3-0 down, I was looking to the sky for some kind of intervention,” he said.
“When Distillery scored their third goal, no-one in the crowd realised because they didn’t see it. It wasn’t until the ball was set down in the centre circle that the fans knew a goal had been scored . . . it was farcical.
“To be honest, it should have been called off 10 minutes earlier because the fog came down really thick. We didn’t really get out of the traps, so my feeling is we got out of jail with the abandonment.”
The Irish Cup ‘challenge committee’ will now made a determination on the outcome.
McCann insists the final 30 minutes should be played out with the 3-0 score standing, instead of having the match replayed.
“It happened in Spain last season. The teams concerned were brought back to finish the tie,” he added. “But that decision will now rest with the IFA.
“We had the game in the bag. It’s a shame. The players were prepared physically and mentally – they did their bit on the pitch only to have it ripped away from them.”
Boyd has every right to feel aggrieved. The 21 year old’s first half double whammy looked to have set up a place in the last eight of the tournament.
Lisburn Distillery: Windrum, Smyth, Harkness, Hunter, Simpson, McCullough, Dividson, Forsythe, Gordon, Boyd, Beggs.
Subs: Halliday, Melly, Ferguson, Hughes, Bell.
Dundela: Hughes, Collins (Irwin 56), Davison, Faulkner, Hume, Gourley (McCullough 60), Jackson, McCain, McClelland, Cherry, Roy.
Subs: Gilliland, Murphy, Alexander.
Referee: A Davey.