Paddy McLaughlin admitted that Cliftonville’s performance against Coleraine yesterday fell short, but was distinctly unimpressed with the refereeing decision that led to the crucial opening goal.
The Bannsiders scored penalties in either half to seal a 2-0 win at The Showgrounds and, while McLaughlin had no issues with the award of the second spot-kick, he felt the red card Raymond Crangle flashed at Aaron McCarey was harsh and hit out at the official’s verdict on the first penalty entirely.
McCarey was penalised for an apparent 16th minute foul on Matthew Shevlin, despite the goalkeeper clearly stopping in his tracks and attempting to shield himself from the impact the striker made on him after dinking his close-range shot onto the crossbar.
“I don’t know what Raymond has seen as no one claimed for a penalty bar Oran (Kearney), so unless he has been influenced by that, I don’t know,” said the Reds boss.
“We were really surprised it was called back despite Shevlin getting to the ball first and hitting the bar. Aaron has to run out and make himself big, so what does he expect him to do?
“There are no arguments about the second one as Aaron has misjudged a poor back header and we were the makers of our own downfall on that one. I was surprised by the sending off as I thought the penalty was enough punishment.”
Cliftonville dominated possession throughout the game and, at the start of the second-half in particular, had Coleraine under all sorts of pressure but were unable to translate that superiority into goals, leaving McLaughlin to rue a frustrating off day.
“We are disappointed by our forward play, not just our strikers but our whole unit as I don’t think we threatened enough despite having a lot of the ball,” he added.
“The supply to the front line wasn’t great and the threat in the final third was nullified by (Stephen) O’Donnell and (Aaron) Canning, who dealt with things very well.”