The Hamilton derby between Hamilton Wanderers and Melville United in the LottoNRFL Premiership was set to be another spectacular; however, the game will now be remembered with controversy as Melville United were denied a penalty in disregard of FIFA rules.
Since Melville returned to the premier league last year the derby between their fierce rivals Hamilton Wanderers has been played in front of some of the largest crowds for a Northern League football game, with the last-minute winner by Tommy Semmy for Wanderers in the opening game of last season, before Melville United turned on the style in the return fixture, battering Wanderers.
Again it was another large crowd, with more than 200 people at Porritt Stadium on Saturday.
While Melville United dominated most parts of the game in the midfield, Hamilton Wanderers have proven that they need only one opening for star striker Semmy to find the net, and he did just that, opening the scoring midway through the first half.
Melville pushed and pushed for a chance at Hamilton Wanderers' goals, and despite all their strong build-up play, they failed to register much in front of goal.
It wasn't until late in the second half that controversy rained down on the match as veteran Steven Holloway was pulled down in the Wanderers' box, awarding a penalty for Melville United.
Midfielder Liam Hayes stepped up and converted the penalty, but not before Holloway had entered the box.
According to FIFA's laws of the game, the penalty should have been retaken, but to the cheers of the Hamilton Wanderers' crowd, referee Steven Black awarded Hamilton Wanderers a free-kick.
To add further salt to the wound, the referee sent off Melville United's skipper, Aaron Scott, but not before he had red-carded the wrong Melville player.
Tommy Semmy would eventually seal the game for Hamilton Wanderers against the disheartened Melville United, but this derby will be remembered for the controversy rather than the result.
Waikato News has contacted the LottoNRFL Premiership who said "NRF is aware of an incident in the LOTTO NRFL Men's Premier League match between Hamilton Wanderers and Melville Utd on Saturday relating to a decision made by the appointed referee of the match. We are currently reviewing all available information regarding this and will determine the resulting course of action in due course."
On social media, it has been reported that referee Steven Black has stood himself down for the next round of matches.
- Tom Rowland is the Claudelands Premier Womens team manager