RONNIE Sharp was left angry and frustrated at refereeing decision which went against his side in today’s 4-1 defeat at Inverurie Locos.
The County boss was honest enough to admit his side were second best to the Railwaymen but could not fathom out why referee Filippo Mazzoni awarded the home side a first half penalty kick but refused to blow for a handball in the build-up to Inverurie’s fourth goal, at a time when Nairn were pushing to pull the score line back to 3-2.
It was the second week in a row that Nairn saw a penalty given against them for handball when a cross has been blasted against a defender with their arms in a natural position from close range.
This time it was Ryan MacDonald on the end of the decision and Neil Gauld did the rest from 12 yards to add to Stuart Duff’s opener.
Sharp said: “Ryan was three yards away from the boy who crossed it. There was nothing he could do and it just hit his arm. His arms were by his side like the decision that went against us last week and I do not understand why these are being given all the time. If the arm is by the side and there is no way of him getting it out of the way when the ball is fired at him from three yards, then it should never be a penalty and I thought it was a very poor decision.
“Then, for their fourth goal, there’s a handball but this time play was allowed to continue even though their player was 15 yards away from the pass and clearly controlled it with his arm. They then broke upfield and scored a goal off it but it is getting very frustrating and I do not understand the decisions we are getting in games now. I do not know what they are classing as handball and what is not anymore.”
Goals from Duff, Gauld and Andy Hunter had Inverurie comfortably in control of the proceedings before half-an-hour had elapsed, leaving Sharp a disgruntled man at the break.
“It was our worst first half performance of the season by a good bit,” he stated. “For 15 minutes, we were competitive but when it went to 2-0, we lost our edge. We did not have the work rate we usually have, we did not seem to have the commitment and did not seem to have the composure compared to the last couple of games we have played against the likes of Fraserburgh and Formartine. It was a real poor performance in the first half.”
Nairn gifted the home side their opening goal before the penalty controversy.
“We were caught on the ball in the corner again,” said Sharp. “Two of our defenders did not take responsibility to get rid of the ball. We tried to play it out in a dangerous area but gave it away and it was just a first-time finish.”
Sharp was more heartened by what he witnessed after the interval after some tactical re-adjustments.
He said: “In the second half, we were totally committed and were driving forward. We got a goal back and the game was pretty even. We were pushing on to try to get the second one and then again, it was another decision that never went our way.”
Max Ewan grabbed a goal back for the visitors 10 minutes after half time to give them a glimmer of hope before that was quashed by Hunter’s contentious second of the game 20 minutes from the end.
Looking back at his side’s goal, Sharp said: “It was the first good run from one of our midfielders in behind all game by Cohen (Ramsay). It was a good shot across goal from him and a good finish by Max at the back post and that is what we have been asking boys to do – when the ball comes across the goal you have to be in the six-yard box to put the ball in the net and Max scored again. That is good for him and he is now in three goals in our last four games.”