Portadown 2 Carrick Rangers 1: Refs need to stand up and be counted, says Callaghan
Portadown 2 Carrick Rangers 1
Aaron Callaghan called for referees to be more accountable after a controversial penalty angered Carrick Rangers at Shamrock Park.
His side were leading in this basement battle when referee Neil Robinson awarded the spot kick following a tussle between Callum Ferris and Daniel Larmour on the edge of the box.
Robinson viewed Larmour had fouled his opponent and pointed to the spot.
Niall Henderson scored to level it up, with Luke Wilson going on to register the winner for Portadown two minutes later.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Callaghan, who knew a point would have been enough to confirm the Ports' relegation.
While admitting his side were poor, the Carrick boss was far from happy with the referee.
"It might have been inside the box, but it's two lads challenging for the ball in the air - I don't know how you can give a penalty," he said.
"Again, we are on the wrong side of a decision from referees and in my opinion they need to stand up and be counted.
"Come on - get the league to stand up and let's improve the standard of refereeing.
"It's not a deflection - we were very poor today.
"I'm embarrassed for our fans, the performance we put in was nowhere near good enough, but those officials need to look at themselves as well."
Carrick had gone ahead from a penalty of their own 10 minutes into the second half.
This decision was far less contentious as sub Tommy Elder was fouled in the box by Ross Larkin.
Martin Murray took the spot kick, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
But the game was turned on its head inside the final 10 minutes, as Henderson's penalty brought the Ports level.
They then won it when Wilson, making his league debut, finished off a pass from Stephen Hughes.
It keeps Portadown clinging on to their top flight status for another week.
But the odds are still stacked against Niall Currie's side, who must win all four of their remaining games - and hope Carrick don't pick up a single point in theirs.
Currie said: "We've been down on our luck and feeling sorry for ourselves, but that has given me a real lift.
"We'll give the players a lot of credit today. I've been critical of them in the past, but I thought we got a real enthusiastic performance from them."