Hekari Souths United FC have beaten Welgris Highlanders 1-0 in a stormy second round encounter of the National Soccer League at Lloyd Robson Oval on Saturday.
Welgris Highlanders had a goal disallowed early in the match after striker Beckham Yanum headed home from close range – to give his side what looked like an early lead.
Referee John Krois awarded the goal before being signaled over by his assistant referee Eka Albert’s raised flag.
After consulting with Albert, Fourth Official Salaiau Sosogan informed Krois that during the move by the Highlanders, midfielder Esa Nasa had charged at United’s goalkeeper Gure Gabina as Yanum headed the ball past him.
Koris reversed his decision and disallowed the goal.
The Highlanders dropped their guard in the ensuing play and United Striker Abraham Iniga capitalized to connect on a good cross from substitute Andrew Lepani for the winning goal.
Highlanders franchise owner Tony Kila questioned the authority of the fourth match official to influence and reverse the initial decision of the central referee.
“Such a ruling questions the integrity of the NSL and the impartiality of referees,” he said.
Kila said the NSL now was into its third season and the games must be seen to be professionally controlled by qualified and impartial referees and linesmen.
In the early match, an over-trained CMSS Tigers Rapatona played undisciplined football to fall prey to University Inter FC 2-0, with striker Neil Hans and Clifford Wate each scoring a goal apiece in each half.
In Madang, Eastern Star’s expensive buy Nathaniel Lepani scored the winning goal to help them record their first competition points of the season.
The Milne Bay franchise beat Sepik FC 4-3 while MACL Nabasa held the highly-fancied Gigira Laitepo Morobe FC to a goalless draw.