Two players sent off and just as many penalties awarded but Hawke's Bay United and the Wellington Phoenix Reserves played a game that didn't have a tempestuous foundation to it at the weekend.

That's pretty much the overview of Thirsty Whale-sponsored Bay United coach Brett Angell after his troops succumbed 3-1 to last-placed "Wee Nix" at Porirua Park in their final round-robin match of the ISPS Handa Premiership campaign this season yesterday.

"There were a lot of decisions that came about in the game that were a little bit strange ... so I couldn't see how the referee had arrived at those decisions," said Angell after the seventh-placed visitors led 1-0 at halftime through a goal from centre-mid Karan Mandair in the 15th minute.

However, the hosts, claiming their third win of the summer, equalised through Kieran Richards in the 52nd minute before Maximilian Batchelor planted two goals from the penalty kick spot in the 70th and 87th minutes to seal victory.


Red-carded skipper Birhanu Taye headed for a shower with more than 10 minutes remaining, according to the NZ Football report, but Angell said French midfielder Maxime Oliveri also collected his second yellow card in the dying minutes to leave Bay United with nine men.

"Obviously with Bee [Taye] sent off it sort of made the elements of us not really playing as well as we really did in the first half ... then we were given a penalty against us as well which then put them very much in the ascendancy.

"There were some interesting refereeing decisions that threw the game into a bit more of an outcome, from our point of view, that changed the complexion into Phoenix's favour although they had started the second half better," he lamented of the non-playoff contenders.

Peter Linney had the whistle with Mark Whitehead and Sean Reilly running the lines and Chris Bennett on the sideline as the fourth official.

Angell felt some rulings also had influenced the momentum of the game in the second spell as well.

However, the Englishman was still in the dark about what the infringements were for the penalties although he intended to watch videotaped footage for closure.

He said the Nix keeper, "as the last line of defence", had impeded Mandair outside the box, which Linney deemed a freekick and flashed a yellow card.

Angell believed the laws stipulated the keeper should possibly have been sent off with a red card.


"Possibly in the right instance Phoenix would say it wasn't a foul anyway but that's not the point when the referee deemed it a foul.

"What I can't understand is how he arrives at a decision of a yellow card and a freekick to us."

Hawke's Bay United midfielder Karan Mandair scored a goal early in the first half but it wasn't enough for his team to finish their season on a winning note. Photo/Photosport
Hawke's Bay United midfielder Karan Mandair scored a goal early in the first half but it wasn't enough for his team to finish their season on a winning note. Photo/Photosport

Angell questioned Taye's red card where he felt the defender put his arm out after he was consistently fouled as he tried to shield the ball from the opposition forager.

Linney's failure to act on the Wee Nix player had prompted Taye to stick his arm into the tackler's face.

The coach also questioned a yellow card to veteran Paul Ifill for taking a shot after the whistle went when a Wee Nix player had done the same thing in the first half with no repercussions.

Oliveri's second yellow card, he argued, came when officials hadn't seen anything but a Phoenix player lay on the ground.

"We played three passes before the whistle was blown to stop play ... whether it was correct, I would have expected it to be immediate," he said, expecting an immediate blast from the whistle because there was no advantage rule in play considering Phonenix didn't have possession.

"If the opposition had had the ball I could have understand him playing on until such time as there's no advantage."

It baffled Angell that despite all the stoppages there was no referee's time added and the game finished "in the full 90 minutes".

Consequently he was seeking details around the decisions and their consistency before drawing any final conclusions.

"I'm not saying they weren't fouls, because I hadn't seen Maxime's second [bookable offence], but I'd like to be able to recognise why the referee didn't immediately pull up Maxime for the infringement.

"Neither the fourth official, I believe, or his linesmen saw the supposedly offence by Maxime for the second booking."

Angell said the match did not have an ill-tempered feel to it ":where it was going out of control in any form or shape" so that was what had confounded him and the players most.