United KO’d By Zebroski
Former Torquay United player Chris Zebroski came back to Plainmoor and scored the only goal in a match that lacked quality but produced a controversial refereeing decision that changed the whole concept of the game.
The only goal of the game, from Zebroski, came after only eight minutes. A lovely weighted ball from Adam Chapman into Zebroski’s path saw the former Gull’s right-footed effort, from a difficult angle, come off defender Dale Tonge and loop over the stranded Martin Rice.
Torquay could have got back into the game a minute later when a trademark free-kick from Kevin Nicholson sailed just over the bar from a central position 14 yards out.
Billy Bodin, back in the side for the injured Courtney Cameron, then had a couple of half-chances for United to get them back on level terms, the best of which was a great left-footed free-kick from just outside the box, after Elliot Benyon had been fouled; but Bodin’s effort went inches wide of County’s right post, with the keeper rooted to his line.
Then came the talking point, on 35 minutes, when United were reduced to ten men. Shamir Goodwin was shown a straight red card for a foul on County’s captain Michael Flynn. Goodwin was adjudged to have lead with his arm when challenging for a header on the half-way line. Regarding the incident, United’s assistant manager Lee Hodges said after the game that the ref had got the decision wrong: “We have looked at it on the monitor and Goodwin does catch the player, but with his shoulder; the ref has made a decision but it’s the wrong decision and that changed the game.”
With the extra man, Newport carved out three good chances to double their lead with half-time approaching. First, Flynn had his strike from 20 yards saved by Rice whike the follow-up by Crow was also impressively saved. Zebroski then had the final chance of the first half, but dragged his right-footed effort wide of the post from a tight angle.
After the break, County started the half with the same intensity as they had ended the first, but Rice was equal to two Newport chances, by Zebroski and Andrew Hughes who hit a fierce left-footed strike from the resulting corner.
Overall, the second half offered little in the way of a spectacle, with both sides unable to take control. United battled well with a man less than their opponents, but chances did not come for the Gulls.
On 74 minutes, United’s goal was under attack again. A fine cross from the right found the diving head of Andrew Hughes, but the County man could only slice the ball onto the far post, when it looked a certain goal.
United manager Chris Hargreaves then brought on his substitutions in quick succession, switching the formation by playing three at the back.
United had one final push for that vital goal when Downes saw his fine header from the penalty spot pushed back out by the County keeper, ensuing in a goalmouth scramble. Benyon and Yeoman both had chances to lift the ball into the net from no more than a yard out, but McLoughlin managed to get a hand to both before Downes saw his final effort go high over the bar from six yards out.
Manager Hargreaves decided not to talk to the media after the game; instead Hodges took on the duty: “The lads are disappointed. They dug in deep today with ten men, but the ref’s decision was a game changer.”
United are six points from safety with eight games remaining. The fight for survival moves to York on Tuesday night.
TUFC: Rice, Tonge (O’Connor 68), Nicholson (Craig 67), Downes, Pearce, Bodin, Mansell (Capt), Lathrope, Goodwin, Showunmi (Yeoman 59), Benyon
Subs Not Used: Poke, Harding, Hawley, Stockley
Newport: McLoughlin, Naylor, Feely, Blake, Hughes, Flynn (Capt), Minshull, Chapman (Porter 82), Zebroski, Crow (Holloway 75), Willmott (Jeffers 92)
Subs Not Used: Burge, Worley, Jolley
Bookings: TUFC – Pearce NCFC – Minshull
Sendings Off: Goodwin (TUFC)
Attendance: 2,874 ( 860 Away)
(Match Report By Matt Green, Sport South Devon)
UNITED failed in their appeal against the red card shown to Shamir Goodwin. The FA disciplinary commission met the following Tuesday afternoon to discuss the incident and decided to uphold the decision of referee Gary Sutton, meaning Shamir would be suspended for the next three games.
The Gulls launched the appeal after close analysis of the video footage, which they felt showed Shamir’s shoulder make contact with Newport captain Michael Flynn and not the elbow as stated by Mr Sutton in his report.
They also felt that both players were using their arms for elevation in jumping for the ball and there was certainly no intent to cause hurt from
Shamir. The uncertainty of the decision was further enhanced by Mr Sutton initially awarding the free-kick to United before quickly changing his mind.
“It is disappointing news but we have to accept the FA decision,” the Club said.