IFA rescinds Roy Carroll match ban after ref admits he got it wrong
The Irish FA has rescinded the red card issued to Linfield's Roy Carroll during the match against Glenavon on Saturday after referee Tim Marshall admitted he had made a major error of judgment in dismissing the former Northern Ireland keeper.
The Irish FA Disciplinary Committee said: "The referee in the match contacted us to say that the decision was incorrect.
"It was decided that an obvious error had occurred and that the player should not serve any suspension, including the automatic suspension."
After consulting with his assistant, referee Marshall showed Carroll a straight red for allegedly spitting but after reviewing footage of the incident, the man in the middle was satisfied that the keeper had not spat in the direction of the Glenavon bench.
Marshall informed the Disciplinary Committee of his mistake in writing but the former Manchester United No.1 is angered and embarrassed by the incident and Linfield chiefs have fired a letter off to the Irish FA's Referees' Committee calling for standards to improve and an end to inconsistencies among officials in Northern Ireland's top-flight.
Linfield also had Matthew Clarke sent-off during the 2-2 draw at Mourneview Park and he must serve his suspension.
Many Blues fans felt that both sendings off were wrong and, while they will welcome the Irvinestown man's admission that Carroll should not have been dismissed in the opening 10 minutes, they will still feel aggrieved after two lost points.
Mark Haughey had to don the goalkeeping gloves on Saturday after Carroll's dismissal but Gareth Deane, who played in last year's Irish Cup final, should be able to rise to the occasion again.
Linfield's emergency No.1 Haughey says he has now developed a greater appreciation of the challenges goalkeepers face.
"I don't envy goalkeepers," said Haughey. "There is a lot of pressure and if they make one mistake it could be very costly. Strangely, the last time I went into nets was also against Glenavon but it was much later on and Roy's sending off was around the 10th minute.
"To go into goal for 80 minutes was a different test but then the adrenaline kicks in and with my background in Gaelic football I'm confident about the handling and hand-to-eye co-ordination but it's the reaction and power shots you worry about.
"I've done my bit and hopefully Gareth (Deane) or Roy can don the gloves again. Not many people would have given us any hope but we had great belief."
As United keeper Ross Glendinning is on loan from Linfield, rules do not permit him to play against his parent club so another former Blues stopper, Alan Blayney, could receive a call-up.