Linesman call cost us the cup tie, says Stephen Swift

An enraged Stephen Swift was left dumbfounded by the assistant referee’s decision to give Airdrieonians a second goal as Stenhousemuir were defeated in the Scottish Cup.

By Ben Kearney
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:25 pm
Players fight for possession of the ball (Pics Scott Louden)
Players fight for possession of the ball (Pics Scott Louden)

The third-round tie had paired the Warriors with the League 1 side and the latter eventually progressed, winning 2-0 in a tight affair at Ochilview Park.

Adam Frizzell opened the scoring 10 minutes before the break when the ball broke to the midfielder on the edge of the box and he finished into the far corner. The hosts started the second half strongly but were undone by Callum Smith’s goal on 55 minutes.

The ball trundled its way towards goal after an effort and goalkeeper David Wilson looked to have kept it out, saving on the line. But the assistant on the far side gave a goal, much to the disbelief of the Stenhousemuir manager.

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Adam Brown drives with the ball

Swift said: “Right away, I’ve seen the linesman react on the line but the referee hasn’t given it and he is a few yards away. When he ran up, I’ve said to him ‘how sure are you that has gone in?’ and he replied ‘100 per cent’, which is impossible. His vision is through a ruck of players and, even if it was over the line, how can he give it if he doesn’t know?”

The 41-year-old offered the assistant referee the chance to watch back the footage on the club’s GoPro recording device which was attached behind the goal and the linesman agreed to watch it back after the final whistle had gone.

Swift said: “The players said it wasn’t over, so I offered the linesman the chance to watch it back and prove he was correct. He said he would but then the referee said at full time he wasn’t allowed. It disgusted me. He didn’t have the right to give that goal.”

The second half started the Warriors on top, despite the side being depleted once again through injury and Covid-19 with seven players missing from the squad – including star players Nat Wedderburn and Robert Thomson.

Max Currie somehow keeps out a Stenny effort at goal

"We started well after going a goal down before the break but the goal for them probably killed the tie, in all honesty. We didn’t have a freshness about us, simply due to the amount of minutes the guys have put in recently,” said Swift.

“The goals came at the right time for them in a game that didn’t have much in it. We didn’t do enough to win but we could have ridden out a result on another day. Considering the way the game went, I can’t be too disheartened.”

Speaking about the injury issues, Swift was pleased to report big names are likely to return to training this week as they head back into an important period of league matches.

"Nat Wedderburn and Thomas Orr should be back this week, which is huge for us. They have been two of our most important players recently. Declan Hughes should return on Thursday as well. Michael Miller took a sore one at Kelty but he should be back as well, so it is a big boost for us.”

Stenhousemuir face Stranraer at home on Saturday and Swift sees it as a revenge mission after the last match at Stair Park. He said: “They gave us a doing down there, to be honest. It was the wake-up call we needed at that point because we hit rock bottom.”