Late drama sparks derby uproar
A CONTROVERSIAL penalty awarded late in injury time ignited local derby passions in yesterday's battle between Western Spirit and the Ipswich Knights.
The Knights received the penalty with seconds left after the referee changed his mind.
The dramatic decision followed a collision between Western Spirit's American goalkeeper Steve Purdy and Knights striker Andy Drager.
Ben Hunt converted the penalty to secure a dramatic 1-1 draw.
Although the Knights were finishing strongly, Western Spirit had dominated large periods of the Division 1 derby at Bundamba.
"It was like a loss. That's the sad thing about it," Western Spirit coach Stewart Drinkeld said.
"It was probably a penalty but because the ref gave a goal kick then changed his mind, that's going to upset a lot of people."
Both camps exchanged words after the heated finish, setting up a classic rematch when the teams meet again at Goodna this week.
"I'm looking forward to redemption on Friday," Drinkeld said. "I can't wait for Friday."
Knights coach Ashley Hempstead agreed his team was lucky, given Western Spirit's determined performance.
"I think that (the late call) is what made it difficult," Hempstead said.
"I think it was a pretty clear penalty.
"At the end of the day, it was probably an escape for us.
"I thought they were better than us for probably 60 minutes."
However, Hempstead said his team showed character in a season of frustration.
"We've come back, we've nicked a point there when we didn't give it up when we went one down," Hempstead said.
"Everyone will talk about what happened in the end but it's a good derby. If we're talking about the game, it's good for the game."
Drinkeld praised his defensive cordon of Sam Hay, Joel Hancock, Raj Oshen and Lincoln Rule for keeping the Knights' attack in check. The Spirit defence even shut down 2011 Golden Boot winner Peter Drager, who came on for the second half after returning this week from overseas.
"I thought the Knights only boot the ball down the park and they rely on Drager and some speed to follow. We covered that quite well," Drinkeld said. "They didn't look too dangerous."
Matt Taylor scored Spirit's only goal in the first half.
STATE OF PLAY
Local derbies at Bundamba yesterday: Division 1 - Ipswich Knights (Ben Hunt penalty) drew Western Spirit 1 (Matt Taylor).
Reserve grade: Ipswich Knights 2 (Alex Kitching, Stu Hinks) d Western Spirit 0.
The teams meet again on Friday night at Kippen Park, Goodna (6.30pm and 8.30pm)