Harrogate Railway manager Mick O'Connell slams 'abysmal' refereeing display after North Ferriby loss

Mick O'Connell slammed referee Matthew Langdon's performance as "absolutely abysmal" in the wake of Harrogate Railway's 3-1 home defeat to North Ferriby.

By Rhys Howell
Monday, 17th January 2022, 8:59 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 9:00 pm
Harrogate Railway midfielder Fatlum Ibrahimi gets stuck in during Saturday's NCEL Division One defeat to North Ferriby at Station View. Picture: Craig Dinsdale
Harrogate Railway midfielder Fatlum Ibrahimi gets stuck in during Saturday's NCEL Division One defeat to North Ferriby at Station View. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

After six consecutive NCEL Division One victories, the Starbeck club lost out to their promotion rivals despite dominating Saturday's contest for long periods.

But, the Rail boss is adamant that his team would have come away with a share of the spoils at the very least were it not for the match officials.

"I hate to be making excuses and talking about the referee, but to put it politely, he was absolutely abysmal," O'Connell told the Harrogate Advertiser.

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Harrogate Railway manager Mick O'Connell. Picture: Gerard Binks

"The free-kick which led to their first goal was very soft, but you can deal with that. The second goal, it's a clear handball. Some of our players even stopped it was that obvious. I'm sure that everyone in the ground except he referee and the linesman on that side saw it was a handball.

"It was so blatant, I don't know why the assistant doesn't flag for it. He's no more than 10 yards away. Then at 2-1 we have a stonewall penalty not given, another blatant decision that they've got wrong and 50 seconds later Ferriby go down the other end and score their third.

"It's just a horrible way to lose a game of football which we completely dominated for large periods. To be honest, I feel aggrieved, I feel cheated.

"The referee has cost us a point at least, probably a win."

Disappointed though he was with both the outcome of the contest and the impact which Mr Langdon had on proceedings, O'Connell was still pleased with the way his charges went about their business.

"The performance level was absolutely brilliant. From start to finish, the lads were superb," he added.

"I think every other game we have lost this season, our performance has been below the level I expect, but on this occasion our levels were more than good enough, it was just one of those days where nothing went for us.

"We hit the post, we had a couple cleared off the line, we had loads of possession and created plenty of chances, whereas last time we played Ferriby they absolutely battered us.

"They're the best team in this division in my opinion. When we went there, they were better than us all over the park. We couldn't get the ball off them. On Saturday we had 65 or 70 per cent possession and it was them who couldn't get the ball off us.

"I think the biggest compliment they gave us was going five at the back in the second half and putting 10 men behind the ball. Even their manager said after the game that he had no idea how we didn't end up winning the game."

Goals inside the first 25 minutes from Josh Whiteley and Danny East saw Ferriby take a two-goal lead against the run of play before Dan Thirkell pulled one back from the penalty spot after half an hour.

East then wrapped things up for the visitors in the 76th minute when he notched his second of the afternoon.

Railway remain fourth in the table despite Saturday's defeat.