Paul Okon slams O’Donovan’s red card

Central Coast Mariners coach Paul Okon has expressed his sheer disappointment over a red card given to striker Roy O’Donovan that changed the course of the game.

The Mariners were reduced to 10 men inside 30 minutes in their clash against Melbourne City after goalscorer O’Donovan was sent off in controversial circumstances.

Tim Cahill pounced on the depleted Mariners and scored two goals in City’s 2-1 victory in front of 8,784 fans at AAMI Park on Thursday night.

Following an aerial contest where a whaling O’Donovan arm seemed to make contact with City defender Michael Jakobsen’s face, multiple Melbourne City players swarmed referee Daniel Elder, including ‘keeper Dean Bouzanis who ran a long way outside his box to express his opinions on the matter.

Elder consulted with the linesmen before sending O’Donovan off with a straight red card in the 23rd minute.

In his post-match interview, Okon lamented the decision.

“I would be surprised if there was someone in the stadium, or at home [watching] on TV, that thought that was a red card,” he said.

The incident between O’Donovan and Jakobsen was similar to that of Besart Berisha’s last week.

In Berisha’s case, the Melbourne Victory striker had his red card rescinded as an Obvious Error.

Okon hoped the same would occur for his key striker.

“[I hope] the match review panel look at that and clear Roy to play next week,” he said.

“We were punished because of that decision.

“If he’s not free to play next week, it punishes us again.

“I hope common sense prevails and the red card is rescinded.”

The Mariners coach continued by slamming Bouzanis over his influence in O’Donovan’s send-off.

“I’m disappointed in Dean Bouzanis, he’s a good kid, I like Dean,” Okon began.

“But to run out of your goal 60 metres straight up to the linesman … is unprofessional and it’s not fair play.

“I’d hate for one of my players to behave like that.”

 

Ultimately, Okon was proud of his players’ persistence considering their disadvantage.

“Our effort tonight was what that shirt does when the players put it on,” he said.

“We’re certainly heading in the right direction.”

The Mariners remain in last position on the Hyundai A-League table, while City are third with a tough month of fixtures ahead.

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A-Grade football fan, C-grade player