Ward hopes ‘ghost goal’ can haunt Hartlepool

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward hopes his side’s ‘ghost goal’ will come back to haunt Hartlepool United tomorrow.

The U’s are still smarting at the officiating farce which saw them denied a perfectly legitimate goal at promotion-rivals Charlton on Tuesday night.

With the score goalless, Steven Gillespie was comfortably onside when put through on goal to score in the 64th minute. However, referee Darren Sheldrake took it upon himself to emit a brief blow on his whistle just as the striker pulled the trigger, seemingly anticipating an offside flag.

A bizarre four minutes then followed. First the goal was awarded after the referee spoke at length to his well-placed linesman who had kept his flag down throughout.

However, just as both sides lined up to kick-off again the fourth official – who was being harangued by the home bench – called over the referee to explain that the goal could not stand as the whistle had been blown prior to the ball crossing the line.

The goal was duly chalked off and Charlton went on to find a winner 11 minutes from time.

“I came to terms with it on the night because I know there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Ward.

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“His (Sheldrake) mind was changed by the fourth official who was persuaded by the Charlton staff and I haven’t got a problem with that.

“I was sitting there thinking I can’t see how he can give the goal because he’s blown his whistle, although I’m not sure why he did that.

“For the whole thing to last four minutes and for the decision to change two or three times made it a little bit of a shambles.

“I think Charlton know they’ve got a bit of good fortune in the game but it happens sometimes.

“If we’ve still got any anger or determination from Tuesday we’ve now got to utilise it at Hartlepool.”

He added: “I’ve put my phone number on the bottom of the referee report and said I’d appreciate a call.

“We’ve said our piece – it’s now up to other people if they want to take it further. If we start dwelling on what might have been then that wouldn’t be very professional.”

Darren Sheldrake is due to referee the League Two match between Gillingham and Rotherham on Monday night.

– For a full match preview of the League One game between Hartlepool and Colchester see tomorrow’s EADT.

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