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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

'The worst thing for me is the referee had his whistle in his mouth... And he took it back out'

John Cotter was frustrated after seeing his side concede a late equaliser.

Cork City interim manager John Cotter with referee Ben Connolly after the game.
Cork City interim manager John Cotter with referee Ben Connolly after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

- Paul Fennessy reports from Richmond Park

CORK CITY BOSS John Cotter cut a frustrated figure after seeing Cork City concede a last-minute equaliser against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park last night.

Despite three minutes of stoppage time being held up, the game went all the way to the 95th minute, with Simon Madden earning his side a 1-1 draw with virtually the last kick of the game.

Cotter could scarcely hide his annoyance afterwards, suggesting the match should have ended before Pat’s scored their dramatic late goal.

“The worst thing for me is the referee had his whistle in his mouth, it went back to [Pat's goalkeeper] Brendan Clarke and he took it back out and let him strike another one and that’s obviously the one they scored from, it’s gutting for all the players,” Cotter said.

“When we hooked that one down the pitch, you’re just waiting for it anyway. Look, everyone knows it was up, it was no secret. To be fair, I don’t think that’s good enough.

We could be standing in a different frame of mind. I thought [the team] were outstanding, I thought they deserved the three points, we deserved to win the game. I think we are defending well, it’s probably the first header we didn’t win [for the late goal], to be fair. The two centre halves won everything. I thought everyone worked their socks off.”

Karl Sheppard, who opened the scoring for Cork with his second goal of the season, was similarly unhappy with the officials’ decision to add on more than three minutes at the end.

“It’s disappointing to give away a goal so late, a very dubious amount of time added on, but that’s what you get with some officials, it happens.

“I think everyone was aware [it had gone past three minutes]. You’re looking at the clock and going: ‘There’s a long time added on here.’ Three added on and they scored in the fifth. You could see all night a lot of decisions were pretty poor.”

Despite the disappointing climax to the match that meant Cork remained eighth in the table, Sheppard took positives from the performance.

“You can see things are progressing, but you need to learn it’s a harsh league — if you switch off for a minute, you get punished.

“You can see we’re playing nice football. It’s just disappointing [with the result].

“[John Cotter] is just trying to get us to play a bit more football. He’s brought his own ideas and we’ll probably start to see that the next couple of weeks now that we don’t have [an abundance of] matches.

Our thing is to get Europe. That’s what we want to do. We would have been in a good position to do it if we held on tonight. But it’s a long season, so we just need to buck up.”

Cotter, meanwhile, echoed his striker’s sentiments, praising the team’s overall display.

“They’re playing with confidence. It would have been four from six [wins]. It’s not obviously, but the two defeats were Dundalk and Rovers who, at this moment in time, are better than everyone else.

“Look, we’re just unlucky, maybe we’re not unlucky… I thought it was wrong to be honest.”

Cork will have plenty of time to reflect on last night’s unfortunate outcome, with their next league game away to Sligo in two weeks’ time.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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