More contentious refereeing as Team Wellington and Hawke's Bay United play out draw

Hawke's Bay United and Team Wellington have played out a 2-2 draw in the ASB Premiership after another contentious refereeing decision.

Ben Harris opened the scoring for Team Wellington in the sixth minute in what would be the only scoring action of the half, although there were plenty of strong challenges and niggle throughout.

But for the second time in as many days an assistant referee was overruled by the main referee on an offside call.

Hawke's Bay's Birhanu Taye scores a goal past Team Wellington's Scott Basalaj in the ASB Premiership match at Bluewater Stadium in Napier on Sunday.

The beneficiary was United's Sean Liddicoat, who ghosted through after the referee decided a Hawke's Bay attacker in an offside position was not interfering with play, which allowed Liddicoat to pounce and slot home the equaliser just three minutes into the second spell.

A defensive error then allowed Birhanu Taye to put Hawke's Bay 2-1 up in the 56th minute, but Wellington were given the chance to hit right back when they were awarded a penalty and Harris made no mistake from the spot to setup an enthralling final 30 minutes. 

It was end-to-end stuff as the midfields tired as the mercury reached 30 degrees Celsius and a hot wind blew - Team Wellington's Cole Peverley had to be substituted at halftime after vomiting due to the heat.

Hawkes Bay's Josh Hill dives to save a goal at Bluewater Stadium in Napier on Sunday.

But neither side could find a winner, which Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott said was probably a fair result.

"If you asked me at halftime if I would be happy for a point, I would've said probably not, but given the circumstances and going down 2-1, to get back up again in the heat and travel, I'm happy to leave here with a point."

Calcott said he'd have a look at the video of the offside call, but it didn't take away from what was a good game.

"I don't want to dwell on it, I'm glad to get out of there with a point because it was absolutely sweltering and points on the road are important."

There was a similar incident during WaiBOP United's 4-3 win over the Wellington Phoenix Premiers on Saturday when Ryan Tinsley scored his second goal in the 96th minute to give his side the win.

The assistant referee's flag was raised on that occasion as well, but the main referee waved the flag away and the goal stood.

That was after Logan Rogerson and Andrew Blake had put the Phoenix 2-0 up in the second half, before three unanswered WaiBOP goals sent the momentum swinging back in their favour after 70 minutes.

Louis Evans equalised only for Tinsley to slot the winner deep into injury time. 

The draw kept Team Wellington and Hawke's Bay third and fourth respectively after Canterbury United's 2-0 win over Waitakere United saw them move past both on the ladder.

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 16:48, January 10 2016