BALTI Sports suffered a second straight Dorset Premier League defeat as Merley Cobham Sports won 3-1 at Weymouth College in controversial circumstances.

Trailing 1-0, Balti thought they had equalised when replacement linesman Ricky Lane – a Balti striker filling in for a delayed official – flagged to signal a Sean Zima shot had crossed the whitewash.

However, after several Merley players disputed the decision, match officials overturned the decision and Lane was repositioned along Balti’s left flank.

Asa Phillips had struck in the fifth minute to give Merley the lead, intercepting a pass to Balti boss and goalkeeper Marco Nott before finishing.

After Zima’s phantom goal, Balti utilised the buffeting wind to work their way into the ascendancy.

Young star Jack Drummond carved down the right-hand side and drilled in a low cross for midfielder Ethan Devaney to tap home from six yards.

Merley, who last season scored 135 goals, were much improved in the second half and retook the lead, this time from a corner as centre-half Steven Gilbert was allowed to control, turn and finish beyond Nott.

Poor defending had cost Balti for the second strike and the hosts’ defence was again slow to deal with a cross as Phillips controlled and rifled home into the top corner to complete the scoring.

Speaking to Echosport, Nott vented his annoyance at Zima’s disallowed goal.

He said: “(Melrey) were the better side second half but we felt really aggrieved first half.

“It was so disappointing. If the (referee) was going to change Ricky over to the other side, we’d have started at 0-0.

“If there wasn’t an incident like that, Ricky would’ve run the whole half with no problem at all.

“He genuinely saw (the ball) over the line and a couple of players did. Merley got in (the referee’s) ear and he ended up retracting the decision completely and gave them a drop ball – it was ridiculous.

“We’re fuming about that, to be honest. You never know, they still might’ve won 3-2 but you’ve gone from potentially 1-1 and we scored another so we could’ve been 2-1 up at half-time.

“That would’ve been fair. But to get that ruled off purely because one of our lads is running the line is absolutely ridiculous.”

Balti: M Nott, O’Shaughnessy, Anderson, Burton, Curran, Kenderdine, S Walker (McClements 65), Nichols, Devaney (Stavrianos 75), Drummond (Lane 60), Zima.


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