Braintree boss describes Guiseley incident as the ‘worst thing he’s seen’ on a football pitch
PUBLISHED: 20:00 28 February 2016
The Iron were controversially denied three points on their first-ever visit to Nethermoor Park on Saturday when the home side equalised with what manager Dan Cowley called “unsporting behaviour and the worst thing I’ve seen on a football pitch.”
The Iron, well in command of the game and deservedly leading through a well-taken Michael Cheek goal on 42 minutes, saw the home side level on 73rd minutes with one of the biggest on-field controversies seen in non-league football.
It erupted when Cheek was fouled on the half-way line and moments later Anthony Edgar put the ball out of play so he could receive treatment.
The normal sporting protocol would see the opposition take the throw-in to one of their players who would then kick the ball towards the visiting goalkeeper to allow play to resume.
But Guiseley’s Ollie Norbury, on receiving the ball, hoofed it high into the top of the Iron net like a normal shot on goal as ‘keeper Tom King waited on the penalty spot for the ball to come to him and restart the game.
It left referee Tom Nield in an embarrassing position because, after consulting both his assistants, he had to rightly allow the goal because legally the ball was in play.
It resulted in a melee between both sets of players and coaches from both benches as the game was held up for six minutes as the controversy raged and stewards were called to try and restore calm.
Referee Nield did ask the home manager Mark Bower if because of the ‘goal’ would he allow Braintree to ‘walk-in’ a goal from the restart, as has happened before in such rare circumstances in football, but he refused, even though several of his players told Iron players they should have done.
It all led to a few unsavoury moments in what up until then had been a thoroughly entertaining game with both sides trying to play attacking football.
An unrepentant Bower said afterwards: “Their ‘keeper stood there with his arms in the air and allowed the ball into the net.
“It put us in a really difficult position whether we should allow them to score or not but we decided no.
“I think their ‘keeper was trying to be clever and had simply let the ball go in. For us it was a very uncomfortable position to be in.”
The point is that King had no chance of collecting the ball as it was sent high over the him into the net.
A bitter Cowley hit back: “It’s the worst thing I’ve seen on a football pitch and it was disgraceful unsporting behaviour on their part.”
“It was a bounce-ball after we’d put the ball out for Cheek to get treatment but the boy simply turned, hit first time, high and long into our net way beyond the reach of our keeper.”
He continued. “In such circumstances you expect the other side to give the ball back to us appropriately – not chip it high and long into the top of our net. Disappointingly they had plenty of time to reverse that decision but they chose not to.”
With temperatures running high for the remaining 15 minutes of the game the Iron players still kept their cool and went in search of a winner and both Simeon Akinola and substitute Taylor Miles were so close to snatching a goal.
Cowley went on: “I thought the way we controlled our discipline and the way we went about our business under intense pressure after the equaliser was a credit to all our players.”
The Iron broke the deadlock on 42 minutes with a fine counter attack that saw Kenny Davis beat two players on the half-way line before slipping a ball through to Cheek who smartly drove the ball low into the net giving keeper Daniel Atkinson no chance.
Right on the interval whistle Alex Woodyard went close to scoring with a defender managing to get a boot on the ball at the last moment and then moments later Akinola shot on the turn almost found the net before another Iron effort was kicked off the line again..
The Iron still looked comfortable for a win until the controversial ‘goal’ that gave the home side an equaliser and left a sour taste in the mouths of the Iron players and their travelling fans.
Iron are at home to basement club Kidderminster Harriers tomorrow night, kick-off 7.45pm.