Tuesday night’s A-League Men clash between Melbourne City and the Central Coast Mariners has been marred by controversy, with two penalty decisions not going the way of the Mariners despite extensive checks with the Video Assistant Referee.
The first, a foul on Marco Tilio by Kye Rowles was deemed to be inside the box, leading City to equalise following Béni Nkololo’s first half strike.
The second, a call for a penalty late in the contest with Matthew Leckie making contact with Lewis Miller which was waved away by referee Shaun Evans after VAR consultation, where the Mariners were unable to equalise.
Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery and goalkeeping coach Jess Vanstratten were booked, with the latter receiving a red card while Montgomery was handed a yellow card.
Furthermore, both VAR checks were extensive, leading to an excessive amount of stoppage time allocated in the second half.
Nick Montgomery expressed his displeasure at the decisions made, speaking on the controversy in his post match press conference.
“It’s tough for the referees to make calls, the game is so quick. But when you have VAR I’m looking at the screen and I can see it’s a penalty… maybe they need to get together and really have a look at it… I think the game has been ruined tonight and I think it’s a spectacle that Australian football didn’t need”, Montgomery said.
“There is a lot of positives here, it’s been a transition with everything that’s gone on but nights like tonight really set the competition back and it’s sad for football.
“What was tonight I thought was a good game other than the crazy incidents that happened and people are now talking about them, they’re not talking about the Mariners who are a very young team, we’ve got the smallest budget, the smallest squad in the league… they’re talking about the decisions about the referees.”
Australian Professional Leagues (APL) Managing Director Danny Townsend has reacted to the situation via social media, stating the following.
“I have just seen these two incidents and can totally understand the vitriol. Will be seeking answers. Won’t comment further until I get those answers. Rest assured I understand the gravity of it.”
Image Source: Football New South Wales