IT may be the start of a new season but some things never change as once again referees were the topic of discussion come the final whistle on Saturday.
Coleraine and Glentoran may have served up an entertaining contest on the dasy of the big kick off but the managers were frustrated by some of the officials’ decisions.
Eddie Patterson claimed his side were the subject of several ‘strange’ decisions on the day, while Oran Kearney felt two big calls went against his team.
The first came just 23 minutes in as the hosts were awarded a penalty after Jim O’Hanlon was adjudged to have been fouled by Aaron Canning inside the box.
The second came with 16 minutes to go as substitute Joel Bradley fired home Gary Browne’s cross but his joy was short lived as the goal was chalked off for offside.
Kearney questioned the decisions after the game and television footage seemed to back up his concerns.
“I think O’Hanlon did well to be fair to him to take Aaron on,” he told Times Sport.
“There’s no question about it being a foul, my only query was whether it was inside the box or not.
“I think he landed inside the box, I’m not sure where the foul was committed.
“As far as the offside goal Gary is adamant Joel was onside when he played it in.
“He was quite wide when he shot across goal the ball has travelled a fair distance and I think Joel has made up quite a bit of distance to get there and tap it in.
“He was in an offside position when he put the ball into the net but I don’t think he was offside when the ball was played through to him.”
Both sides could have snathed a winner in the end but Kearney wasn’t surprised it finised 1-1 given the sides recent past.
“One-all draws between Coleraine and Glentoran has been a fair regularly scoreline over the last couple of seasons and if I’m being honest I’m not that surprised to be standing here with the same result,” he said.
“The opening day of any season brings a bit of nervousness and anxiousness and I think we had a wee bit of all that today.
“I don’t think we ever looked in danger. I was disappointed with the goal we gave away.
“It was a sloppy throw then we gave the ball away before Aaron makes a rash tackle and all of a sudden after 25 minutes of good work with us being the away team up against Glentoran we find ourselves one down.
“I was more than happy with how the first half was panning out.
“We didn’t need to be going mad and gungho at that stage, I would have taken 0-0 at half time and then take the shackles off and have a real go after the break.
“Our performance in the second half is very hard to do for 90 minutes in relation to the work rate and the risks we take when we play that way.
“But we were always going to have a go, it would have been nice for us to come out after half time and unleash Joel and Shane and have a real go at 0-0.
“It is frustrating that wee sloppy bits of play cost us.
“I’ve went through them with the players, it’s not about putting anyone down, but it’s about reminding them sbout the quality they have and how to rectify the mistakes.
“I said to the lads before the game that it’s a long hard season and we’re going to need the whole squad to play its part.
“Joel and Shane showed that coming off the bench to make a big impact and help earn us a point.
“At times we don’t have a lot of natural pace to turn teams, but Joel gives us the option to knock a ball in behind teams and stretch them.
“He’s still a young lad who is learning the game so we will keep throwing him in in fits and starts.
“But as I say he has made a great impact and in my opinion should have been coming away with the winner today.
“I thought Wayne also had an excellent game today too for someone who is really coming out of Championship football. It’s a big place to make your full competitive debut for your new team.
“Some of the saves and decision he made today were top class and he talked to the defence non stop.
“He was very unlucky not to save the penalty, he told me there he just moved to soon.”
Next up for the Bannsiders is a home clash with Portadown this Saturday and if recent games between the two sides are anything to go by it should be an entertaining affair.
“It’s always a tasty affair when we play Portadown and I’m sure next Saturday will be no different,” said Kearney. “They had a good result against Linfield, which I’m sure will set them up for it.
“The boys have put in an excellent shift today and I’m sure they will be champing at the bit to for it.
“It’s our first home game of the season and hopefully we’ll get a big crowd in and serve up an entertaining game for them all.
There has been big talk this week about the new league and how the powers that be will help drive it forward and asked it about it on Saturday Kearney welcomed their willingness to develop the product but urged them not to rush in to any decision.
“I don’t think they should jump in to making rash decisions or wholesale change, but I think the new committee are going about it the right way and setting up a committee to send the feelers out around clubs and see what the thoughts are,” he said.
“Our budget like most budgets in the league has been cut again this year and I think that has a lot to do with the economy never mind football.
“In the same stretch I think there are a few things we should try and do to try and bolster the number of people who are coming to the games and make it more accessible for people.
“I’m open to suggestions probably like everyone else in the league, but I have a big enough job here looking after my own team at the minute.”