Protest overturns St. Lawrence's loss to Quebec

Darcy MacRae
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Teams will replay match, meaning Laurentians have two games on Saturday

Jenna Gabriel (left) of Halifax and Nicole Jesso (right) of Mount Pearl chase a loose ball during their game in the Tide Cup 2007 national girls under-14 soccer championship at the Mount Pearl soccer pitch Thursday afternoon. Amy Brushett 916) of Mount Pe

At one point Thursday, it looked as though the St. Lawrence Laurentians were 0-2 at the Hyundai Cup, the national senior mens soccer championship being held in Halifax.

The Laurentians had dropped a 1-0 decision to Quebec Thursday morning, but the games only goal came with much controversy.St. Lawrence launched an official protest and the decision was overturned by the tournaments organizing committee. As a result, St. Lawrence remains at 0-1for the time being and will replay its game with Quebec Saturday evening.

The fact (St. Lawrence) got a replay is certainly justice, said Kevin Pittman, Newfoundlands soccer rep at the Hyundai Cup and president of the provincial Challenge Cup soccer league.

During first-half action Thursday, there was a flurry of action in front of Laurentians keeper John Douglas. A Quebec player picked up the ball close to the goal and got around Douglas with a quick move to the outside. Douglas responded by diving after his opponent, grabbing him by the ankle in desperation. The referee immediately blew the whistle to call a penalty on the Laurentians, who believed the play had been blown dead as a result.

But while the Laurentians let up at the whistle, the player Douglas had by the ankle continued playing and managed a pass to an open teammate, who sent the ball into the back of the net. Despite clearly blowing the whistle at least one second before the ball entered the net, the referee allowed the goal to stand, stating he blew the whistle prematurely when he saw Douglas grip his opponent.

St. Lawrence argued the goal shouldn't count because the whistle had blown, but the goal stood until the organizing committee overruled the referees decision later in the day.

We protested the game based on that play and the fact the play should have been dead when the whistle blew, said Pittman. The Laurentian players stopped when the whistle blew. If the whistle hadnt blown, they might have been able to stop that play.

The teams will meet again Saturday at 5 p.m., but the timing doesnt sit well with St. Lawrence. The Laurentians are already scheduled to play New Brunswick at 10 a.m. Saturday, forcing them to play twice in the same day. Quebec does not have any other games scheduled for Saturday.

If we had played the game Friday, it would have been Quebec that had to play twice and us once. So either way somebody was going to be at a disadvantage, said Pittman. We actually would have preferred to play tonight (Thursday evening). Both teams played at the same time today (Thursday morning), so there would have been no advantage for either side.

Tournament organizers did not want the teams to play Thursday night because the game could conflict with the Hyundai Cups banquet that evening. The thought of having players come in for a big, sit down supper and then march onto the soccer pitch for a 90-minute game didnt appeal to the organizing committee, a move Pittman doesnt completely disagree with.

I can accept their decision (to play Saturday), Pittman said.

St. Lawrence doesnt play today, leaving the team well rested for Saturdays matchups. From what Pittman saw Thursday, the second go-around with Quebec should be a nail biter.

(Thursdays) game was very even. Each team had three good scoring chances, said Pittman.

Thursday was not a good day for Newfoundland and Labradors other teams competing at national soccer championships. Mount Pearl was blanked at the Jubilee Cup championship in Halifax, losing 4-0 to Nova Scotia. At the Tide Cup under-14 championships being played in the St. Johns area, Nova Scotia edged Mount Pearl 2-1 in girls play. Stephanie Meyers scored for Mount Pearl. Manitoba defeated St. Johns 6-1 in boys action with Jamie Brewer scoring for St. Johns. In another boys game, Ontario blanked Mount Pearl 5-0.

Newfoundland and Labrador teams lost three games in national youth soccer championships outside of the province. The under-16 St. Johns boys were edged 2-0 by Ontario in Sherwood Park, Alberta. The under-16 St. Johns girls lost 8-1 to Ontario, with Michelle Ward scoring the lone Newfoundland and Labrador goal. In Fredericton, N.B., Ontario defeated the St. Johns girls team 4-1 in under-18 competition. Leanne McNamara found the back of the net for St. Johns.

Organizations: Hyundai, The Laurentian

Geographic location: Quebec, Laurentians, Newfoundland and Labrador Halifax Ontario Mount Pearl New Brunswick Nova Scotia Manitoba Sherwood Park Alberta Fredericton

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