Penalty Decisions Frustrate Hotspur!!
Holyhead Hotspur failed in their bid to reach the Huws Gray Alliance League Cup Final for the third time going down to a 2-1 defeat at Guilsfield who will play Caersws in an all Mid-Wales Final. It has not been a good season as far as disciplinary records go by any stretch of the imagination for Hotspur but one has to say there does seem to be a strong case they have been singled out by officials in this campaign. On Saturday two decisions by the referee which resulted in two spot kicks to the hosts were both controversial and contentious and fully warrant the frustration and anger of Manager Campbell Harrison who like the rest of the club are not happy with the current situation to say the least.
Mel McGinness had put Holyhead in front early on with a smartly taken goal and his team largely controlled the great majority of the half until the final minute (45) when a free kick on the edge of the box inadvertently struck a Hotspur defender on the hand driven at force at the wall the official pointing to the spot for Danny Barton to strike home the first gift to the hosts. Decisions like this change games and although a much more even second half another hotly disputed award saw a second gift to Guilsfield for Danny Barton to hit home his second penalty. In truth keeper Carl Jones did not have a direct effort on goal to deal with bar fielding crosses into the box and Hotspur returned home an aggrieved outfit at the manner of the defeat in a semi-final they could and should have won in a hard fought encounter. With several influential players missing this also contributed to the disappointment of missing out on the final. However, Holyhead Hotspur will regroup for the final six games of the season four of which are at home beginning with Penycae this Saturday 2.30 pm kick off.
Following a nip+tuc start Holyhead Hotspur took the lead after only 7 minutes – Gareth Parry on the right doing well to deliver into the box where Mel McGinness with still much to do turned around his defender superbly and as Dave Littleford advanced slipped the ball past him. The little predator was proving a handful and tried his luck from wide right again on 14, but put over. A minute later Littleford had to hold at full strength from a Mike Edwards free kick, the visitors were holding sway at this stage and after Danny Barton had shot wide for the hosts on 16 at the other end a deflected effort by Gareth Jones-Evans had the keeper wrong footed and glad to see the ball go wide.
Holyhead were in control and defending well and on the ½ hour Edwards tenacity won the ball making his way in from right by-line but hit side netting. On 35 McGinness had ball in the net but referee decided Gareth Parry was interfering with play and disallowed it for offside – debatable.
Then came the incident just before the break which turned out to be the turning point, a free kick just outside by Mark Davies struck the hand of a Holyhead Hotspur defender and Barton did the rest.
Second Half – Danny Barton shot just past on 47. On 54 Dean Garmey into Gareth Parry who flashed just over. On 63 good cup tie now and a 25 yard free kick by Mark Davies for Guilsfield just dipped over. On 78 came the second contentious spot kick when a Nathan Leonard drive into the box was seen to be well shackled by Holyhead defenders but again the referee was tempted to point to the spot from what looked an innocuous situation again Barton did the business.
Holyhead all out efforts to retrieve the situation and sub Julian Williams very close on 82, as Holyhead poured forward Guilsfield Captain Gareth Jones received a second yellow for desperate defending but Holyhead could not find the equaliser.