Two Aberdeenshire amateur teams face the prospect of taking to the field for a penalty kick to be retaken after Theologians were eliminated from a tournament at the semi-final stage in controversial circumstances.
Theologians played Jesus House in the semi-final of the Rainbow City Taxis Hans Fyfe Trophy on Saturday.
Having trailed 3-0 the visitors scored twice through Scott McPherson to reduce the arrears before being awarded a penalty in the final minute.
McPherson converted his spot-kick and was celebrating his dramatic late equaliser and what he thought was his fourth hat-trick of the season when referee Scott Donohue blew his whistle for encroachment and ordered a retake.
However, before McPherson could take the penalty again the official then changed his mind and gave an indirect free-kick to the home side who held on to book their place in the final.
The rules state a spot-kick should be retaken if encroachment has occurred prior to the penalty being scored and Theologians are arguing the official has made a crucial error in not applying the rules properly.
McPherson said: “I was more annoyed at the fact we were losing a game we should have won when he gave the free-kick, but with five minutes of stoppage time to be played I was focused on trying to get an equaliser.
“But our composure had gone after he had chalked off the goal and given the free-kick.
“I spoke to the referee after the game about it and he told me that was the rule, but we weren’t sure. Having checked it out afterwards we saw he had made a mistake, which is why we have submitted an appeal.
“Had the goalkeeper saved the penalty the ref could have awarded an indirect free-kick but I scored it and the rules are clear – a retake should be the decision. It doesn’t seem fair that we should be knocked out of the cup in this way, which is why we’ve put an appeal in.”
Theologians will discover whether their appeal is upheld next week.
Martin Smith, secretary of the Aberdeenshire Amateur FA said: “I can confirm an appeal has been received by the association and referred to the executive committee for discussion at the next meeting.”
If Theologians win their appeal, the clubs could be forced to return to finish the game with the spot-kick being retaken or a replay may be ordered.
There is precedent for such cases in the past. In 2015 England women’s under-19 side were wrongly denied a retake against Norway, leading to the countries playing the final three minutes of the match again.
However, in 2005 FIFA ordered a World Cup qualifying play-off between Uzbekistan and Bahrain to be replayed after an identical error was made by the official.