Referee Tony McEvoy defended his decision not to use linesmen during the first half of a controversial JC League Cup tie in which the Lions came from behind to win.
The official was clearly rattled after an incident-packed tie during which he awarded the hosts two disputable penalties and sent off RJC left back Sam McCarthy after the final whistle for foul and abusive language.
Explaining why he chose not to use assistants during the first 45 minutes, McEvoy said: “I never use linesmen because I can make the decisions myself more fairly than a linesman who is from one of the teams. Even if I do employ linesmen, I’d still have the ability to, and frequently would, overrule them.”
McEvoy’s decision to backtrack and revert to using flagmen in the second period was praised by Lions manager Eilon Kennet. “To be fair to him, as is usual protocol, he offered both teams the opportunity to use linesmen.
“He didn’t get any major decisions wrong, but it’s impossible to see everything at once, so you need linesmen, and not having them frustrated the players in the first half. I thought the game was refereed much better in the second half.
An early strike by Redbridge striker Steve Summers was quickly cancelled out by a Jacob Lew penalty, after McEvoy had spotted a push in the area.
Angry RJC boss Greg Bookman, who refused to do a post-match interview, had to be warned by the referee for using foul language in reaction to the decision.
However his spirits were raised when a lobbed pass from James Rubin dropped to Summers who prodded in his second, just before half time.
The Lions come out a different side in the second half with Motti Colman and Lee Bibring pushing forward at every opportunity and take on McCarthy.
It paid dividends just past the hour when a darting run by Bibring forced an ill-timed lunge from McCarthy.
McEvoy pointed to the spot and Lew slotted low inside Jay Jaffa’s right-hand post in a carbon-copy of his first penalty. By now the Lions were fully dominant and a rampant Bibring cut the back for centre-back Louis Basger to slot home the winner five minutes later. Redbridge David Berg said: “The referee made a soft decision for the first penalty and the second one was given after Sam won the ball, so the lads are very frustrated.”
Lions: Elvey, Colman, Basger, Lazard, Lew, Bibring, Lebens, Schwarz (sub: Kennet), Joseph (sub: Arghebant) Fieldgrass, Pearson
RJC: Jaffa, Green, A. Hakimi, Berg, McCarthy; Rubin, Gevertz, D. Hakimi, Silver (sub: Berg); Walker, Summers