St Andrews United: Boss Robbie Raeside gutted at semi-final loss after controversial last gasp penalty award to Dunipace

St Andrews United boss Robbie Raeside was gutted after a controversial last minute penalty for Dunipace eliminated his side from the King Cup at the semi-final stage via a 1-0 home defeat on Wednesday night.
Ross Cunningham (1st left) in action against Dunipace (Pic John Stevenson)Ross Cunningham (1st left) in action against Dunipace (Pic John Stevenson)
Ross Cunningham (1st left) in action against Dunipace (Pic John Stevenson)

Second division Saints – who had qualified after goals by James Collins and Lewis Sawers (penalty) gave them a 2-1 quarter-final win after extra time at Newtongrange Star on Saturday – hoped to beat another first division side in ’Pace but were left devastated when Morgan Galloway netted from the spot in the 93rd minute after Ryan Dignan’s handball following a long throw-in.

"I am really disappointed to lose,” gaffer Raeside told the Herald and Citizen. “We were the better team.

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"They are a team that plays on astroturf and they just came, went totally direct and didn’t play at all. We were the only team playing any football and to not get a result was really galling.

"We were in total control of the game and going into extra time I think there was only going to be one winner.

"But then it was a really harsh decision by the officials to give a penalty. We had the tie taken away from us by that decision and nothing else.

"The ball’s been thrown into the box, Ryan’s been marking a guy and the ball’s deflected off his head and hit Ryan’s hand from about a yard away. If it’s hit Ryan’s hand, his hand’s in a natural position, there’s nothing he can do. That’s the frustrating thing. If a guy scores a worldy into the top corner you can accept that.

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"And giving a penalty was also really inconsistent because Ryan had earlier put a cross into the Dunipace box from the right during the first couple of minutes, their boy’s five yards away, it hits his arm and we don’t get a penalty.

"It was no different from their one because it stopped the ball going in the penalty box.

"I don’t know what the handball rules are nowadays, but if the referee doesn’t give it for one incident he can’t give it for the other.

"It’s the lack of consistency that makes it more frustrating.”

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After beating one first division side and competing so well against another in consecutive cup rounds, Raeside is remaining philosophical.

“I’m proud of the squad,” he said. “It’s been a great effort, we’ve had a lot of injuries and suspensions to deal with.

"We went to Newtongrange with 11 fully fit first team players and a couple of boys who had been out injured and been ill on the bench along with a couple of young boys.

"So to go to extra time and beat them was a fantastic effort and a great result.

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"Against Dunipace, we had plenty of crosses into the box but we probably didn’t get enough players into the box and the players that got in didn’t make enough effort to get on the end of crosses. And some of the crosses weren’t of good enough quality.”

Second-placed Saints, who are 20 league games unbeaten, continue their second division campaign at Edinburgh South this Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm, before hosting Ormiston Primrose next Tuesday, kick-off 8pm.