BARRY Wilson claimed a “horrendous” refereeing decision cost his Elgin City team a result against Peterhead.
City lost to their League 2 north rivals 3-2 at Borough Briggs on Saturday, having led 2-1 before having skipper Jamie Duff controversially red carded.
Wilson demanded an audience with whistler Nick Walsh after the match and was not satisfied by his explanation of Duff’s dismissal.
The defender picked up a harsh yellow card for a high boot in the first half, and was sent packing for what the ref deemed to be deliberate handball when a Peterhead man kicked the ball against his hand.
Wilson fumed: “I thought the first booking was soft enough to be honest.
“But when Bryan Gilfillan tries to score from about 45 yards and it hits Jamie on the hand a couple of yards away, he (the referee) said that’s deliberate handball.
“For me it’s the softest red card I think I’ve ever seen. (An) absolutely horrendous decision.”
Elgin led early on through Ally MacKenzie’s strike before Andy Rodgers levelled on 15 minutes after Duff had cleared off the line.
Dennis Wyness saw an effort tipped on to the crossbar by the Peterhead goalkeeper, before Shane Sutherland’s deflected drive gave City a half time lead.
Duff’s red card may have changed the game, though Peterhead were doing more of the pressing after the break with a strong wind at their backs.
Home keeper Ray Jellema pulled off a string of good stops but when one fell kindly for Rory McAllister it was 2-2 before the hour.
Jellema was then beaten to a high ball by McAllister who nodded in what proved to be Peterhead’s winner.
Ten man City refused to give in and when Shane Sutherland’s stoppage time shot was saved he set up Craig Gunn, but the striker uncharacteristically scooped wide of the target.
Wilson said he was highly encouraged by his team’s display, but a likely suspension for Duff and more missing players will leave him down to the bare bones for Tuesday’s trip to Stirling Albion.
Ceiran McLean and Darryl McHardy made their City comebacks in the second half as substitutes. Both players had recently been released from custodial sentences given to them last December after admitting dangerous driving offences while returning home from an Elgin under-21 match in Dingwall in September, 2012.
But both players will be unavailable for the away match at Stirling, and City have a further five players out injured.
Elgin: Jellema, Beveridge, Finlayson, Crighton, Duff, Harkins, Gunn, Urquhart (McLean 58), Wyness (MacLeod 73), Sutherland, MacKenzie (McHardy 77). Subs: Macaulay, MacDonald, Murray, Black.