Offside controversy denies Shildon cup final berth

Offside controversy denies Shildon victory
New signing, Kyle Patton lays the ball into the path of Billy Greulich-Smith to tap home, but inexplicably, the linesman (top, right) ruled the goal out for offside. Photo: Tom Clegg.

Shildon were denied a third Durham Challenge Cup final in five seasons after a controversial offside decision at Belle View on Tuesday night.

In a tight game of few chances, Shildon set out to neuter the home side’s attack, looking to create openings on the counter.

Within seconds of the decision, a photograph of the incident had been shared on social media providing clear evidence of the linesman’s error.

The plan worked a treat and just after the hour, the chance they had been waiting for arrived when play was broken up in the midfield and a through ball found new signing Kyle Patton running free on goal with team mate Billy Greulich-Smith also free on his inside.

It was a classic two-on-one break and when Patton evaded the goalkeeper’s challenge to pass the ball to Greulich-Smith, the Shildon striker had the simple task of sidefooting into an empty net.

But the visiting side’s cheers were quickly silenced when the linesman flagged for offside.

It was a decision that would effectively cost Shildon a cup final after the match finished all square and Consett prevailed 5-4 in the shootout.

Within seconds of the decision, a photograph of the incident had been shared on social media providing clear evidence of the linesman’s error.

It was an image the Shildon players and manangement were able to see afterwards.

“Can’t believe what I’m seeing here,” tweeted Greulich-Smith, while assistant manager, Mickey Barron also responded, tweeting: “So happy with the performance from all the lads tonight. We set up superbly and stopped Consett playing. We should have scored on the counter attack a few times and had a good goal disallowed.”

Most scathing was player-manager, Daniel Moore who also used twitter to say: “Firstly good luck to Consett AFC in the Final. However is someone from the leagues referee committee going to come out and explain why 80 minutes into a big game for both clubs officials are making these kind of BASIC errors?”

In an indication of Shildon’s tactical dominance of the game, Consett tested Nick Liversedge’s gloves just twice in the match while ex-Shildon keeper, Kyle Hayes was kept busy throughout at the other end.

As Barron hinted in his tweet, Shildon created several opportunities on the break.
Greulich-Smith was denied an opener in the ninth minute when Hayes forced the striker wide and his angled shot found the side netting.

After a dramatic pause, in which the entire crowd of 425 held its breath, the referee waved away the claims.

Hayes again did well in 20 minutes to stop a powerful Daniel Moore header from a corner before a Greulich-Smith snapshot just flew just the wrong side of the post.

Then came the second half controversy, which was quickly followed by strong Shildon appeals for a penalty when Patton was again released, only to be brought down from behind.

After a dramatic pause, in which the entire crowd of 425 held its breath, the referee waved away the claims.

By then, the home side were clearly content to survive until full time and place all their hopes in the penalty shootout.

They duly did and when Marc Ellison blazed over Shildon’s second penalty, it was down to Jordan Lavery to convert his side’s fifth – all well taken – and send Consett into the cup final to the rapturous delight of their home support.


See Tom Clegg on Flickr for match photos.

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