Edinburgh City boss cries foul '“ but to no avail

Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh tempered his post-match comments following their 2-0 defeat by Montrose, but the hosts were clearly and understandably angry at the strange decisions that played a part in the result.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 5:30 am
Updated Monday, 15th January 2018, 9:11 am
Edinburgh's Liam Henderson, right, challenges Connor McLaren

First half-strikes from Michael Bolochoweckyj and Lewis Milne gave The Gable Endies the points and Farid El Alagui’s second half sending off rubbed salt into wounds, but there was controversy surrounding all three incidents.

“It’s hard to be honest in assessment as I’ll just get myself in trouble,” said McDonaugh. “The easiest thing when you get beat is to blame other people and for us we lost our way a bit in a 15-minute spell.

“We lose a goal and we’re aggrieved because we think it’s a free-kick. The first one I wasn’t sure but their second goal is definitely a free-kick to us. We don’t get the decision on either occasion, and I’m disappointed in the players but only for that spell.

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“I think they deserve a lot of credit despite two key decisions going against them and even down to ten men we stuck at it. Credit to Montrose, they deserved to win, but we’ve hit the bar twice. The two goals are obviously the talking points but I don’t think we looked 30 points behind them.”

City started well and Allan Fleming was beaten all ends up after Scott Shepherd’s effort looped over him, the visiting keeper no doubt relieved to see the ball bounce off the crossbar.

The following corner eventually resulted in an opportunity for Ashley Grimes. He thought he’d scored, only for Fleming to pull off a stunning acrobatic stop, again with some help from the woodwork to keep the ball out.

Bolochoweckyj finished smartly with a volley soon after, but there looked a strong shout for a foul on Pat Scullion as a high ball was knocked down immediately beforehand.

It was two soon after, again City claiming for a foul as Shaun Harrison appeared to be tripped in his own box. Referee Lorraine Watson waved play on and Milne swept home, El Alagui receiving a caution for his protests.

The referee further angered City by awarding Montrose a penalty just before the break when Liam Henderson clumsily brought down Milne. Skipper Paul Watson stepped up, but Calum Antell produced a fine save to his right to keep City in it.

City should have halved the deficit just before the hour when a searching ball from El Alagui found Shepherd in space, but he could only fire in to the near side netting.

A mix up between Fleming and Shaun Dillon almost allowed El Alagui in for a simple finish, but the former Dundee United captain atoned by frantically scrambling the ball off the line. The resulting corner was met with a looping header from Jesus Garcia Tena, but again the visitors cleared off the line with Fleming beaten.

City were then down to ten, El Alagui’s earlier yellow coming back to haunt him after he was shown another for blocking Fleming’s attempt to kick from hand.

“You’re disappointed when anybody gets sent off, but it’s more the first booking for dissent,” said McDonaugh. “I don’t really know what happened at the second one. You shouldn’t be getting booked for dissent, but the players are that frustrated with things going against them.”

Montrose assistant Ross Campbell admitted City could feel hard done by. “I think we were certainly fortunate to get one of the goals,” he said. “Albeit we didn’t score the penalty which maybe evened it out, but the second goal they’ll feel aggrieved. I think it was a foul.”

Edinburgh City: Antell, Harrison (Thomson 88), Walker, Laird, Grimes (Donnelly-Kay 72), Hall (Blues 52), Henderson, El Alagui, Shepherd, Garcia Tena, Scullion.

Montrose: Fleming, McLaren (Masson 65), Steeves, Allan, Dillon, Bolochoweckyj, Milne, Watson (Callaghan 65), Johnston, Templeman (Fraser 78), Redman.

Referee: L Watson.

Attendance: 464.