Match official in apology to Ports midfielder Gault after cup blunder

Portadown midfielder Michael Gault during Saturday's final. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Portadown midfielder Michael Gault during Saturday's final. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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Michael Gault has hit out at Saturday’s refereeing blunder that he believes cost Portadown the Irish Cup.

Match official Ross Dunlop failed to send off Glentoran defender Willie Garrett for a professional foul on Gault in the 54th minute.

Play was allowed to continue, with Glentoran scoring what proved to be the winning goal less than a minute later.

Speaking after the match – and before watching television replays of the incident – referee Dunlop insisted he had made the right call.

He added that his assistant closest to the challenge backed his decision.

But on Sunday, Ports midfielder Gault revealed he had spoken to additional assistant referee Raymond Crangle – who was positioned behind the Glentoran goal.

“I phoned Raymond Crangle this morning and he apologised,” Gault said.

“He admitted it was a foul and we should have been awarded a free-kick.

“He also said his microphone wasn’t working so he couldn’t relay the information to Ross Dunlop.

“But why not wave your arms and get the referee’s attention? It was a crucial decision that has impacted on the outcome of the game.

“I know Raymond well and he is a good guy, but they got it badly wrong on Saturday.

“They have made a big mistake in this final. Everyone saw there was contact made. I couldn’t stay on my feet.

“Also the fact that Elliott Morris picks the ball up – surely it should have been a free-kick anyway? It was just a total mess.

“The decision changed the game. Glentoran should have been down to 10 men. Instead they are suddenly 1-0 up in a game where one goal was likely to win it.

“It has cost us the Irish Cup, and it has cost the club over £150,000. It has impacted on next season for us as a club and there will be cut-backs.

“Raymond has apologised, but it isn’t going to change anything, and once again we are left to reflect on poor officiating in local football.

“The whole season has been poor with regards refereeing, and sadly this showpiece occasion has been spoiled through it again.

“People will say this is sour grapes and heat of the moment stuff, but it has cost Portadown the Irish Cup.”