Friday, April 04, 2008

Referee could cost us title

Apr 3 2008

by Philip Kirkbride, Skelmersdale Advertiser

TOMMY Lawson has blasted a replacement referee for denying his Skelmersdale United side all three points on Tuesday night.

Skem’s 0-0 stalemate against FC Utd of Manchester was their second consecutive draw and sees them clinging onto top spot in the UniBond First Division North on goal difference.

Lawson pulled no punches as he aired his anger at what he saw as sub-standard refereeing.

He said: “In my opinion the defining moment came at half-time when the referee went off injured.

“He was replaced by a qualified ref, who was watching the game from the sidelines.

“He waved away a nailed-on penalty for us and even FC United’s manager agreed it was a foul on McConville.

“I’ve known this referee for a long time and have formed my opinion of him over many years. I have to question his integrity and whether he is adequate and competent.”

A bumper crowd of 674 was at the Ashley Travel Stadium on Tuesday to witness the game and the incident.

Despite dropping four points in the last two games, Lawson was typically enthusiastic about his team and the games ahead.

He said: “The FC United match was a fabulous game which I think we edged.

“Unfortunately the crowd of nearly 700 all went home talking about the penalty decision.

“But we’re playing really well at the moment and have had a fantastic season and will continue to do what we are doing.”

United are clinging onto pole position in the league table following Tuesday night’s controversial point and Lawson now feels their title dreams may be out of their hands.

He added: “In terms of other teams having games in hand over us then I think the title is out of our reach.

“But we’ll keep going and if we don’t finish top then we want to finish second so we get home advantage in the play-offs.

“With five games left the league is really exciting.”

Skem entertain Clitheroe on Saturday with George Donnelly suspended.