MOUNT VERNON — Any fan will tell you that it’s never a fun game when officials get involved.
If that’s true, then Tuesday’s boys soccer match between Mount Vernon and Delaware Hayes was one of the worst games of all time.
The Pacers scored a goal with 4:26 left to claim the 2-1 victory at Yellow Jacket stadium, when Tyler Zinader controlled a deflection in front of the net and fired it in. However, that isn’t what many fans were talking about as they left late in the evening.
In a 10-minute span in the second half, the referee issued five yellow cards, awarded two penalty kicks, called eight fouls and issued warnings to multiple players, both benches, two sets of fans and the public address announcer. He stopped the clock so often that it took a little over an hour to play the last 40-minute half.
“After those (stoppages), we never got back into the flow of the game. And, to be quite honest, neither did Delaware,” said Mount Vernon head coach Scott Dapprich. “The refs kept stopping things. ... Nobody got in the flow because of that.”
At one point, the referee stood on the sideline to explain to Dapprich one of the calls, while the clock ran. The announcer asked over the P.A. if the clock should be stopped.
The referee then gave the signal to stop the clock. He later went to Dapprich and said the announcer had “gone too far.”
“He didn’t go too far,” said Dapprich. “He was asking about the clock. It was a fair thing to ask.”
The controversy began in the 54th minute. With Mount Vernon ahead, 1-0, an official called a push inside the box and awarded Delaware Hayes (4-1) a penalty kick. When some players objected, the referee issued his first warnings.
After Hayes’ Sam Spivey’s kick was saved by Daniel Baker, a side official blew the play dead and awarded a second penalty kick, claiming Baker had stepped forward before the ball was kicked.
This allowed Phoenix Neitzelt to score on the second penalty kick, tying the game at 1. During the celebration, the referee issued a yellow card to Baker for objecting to the call.
Thirty seconds later, a foul was called against Mount Vernon (3-2), and the referee immediately issued a yellow card to Cody Peterson. The ref then turned and issued a yellow card to coach Dapprich, prompting the first warnings to fans and the announcer.
Two minutes later, after another foul, the side judge stopped play and warned Dapprich again that the fans were using foul language.
“I didn’t hear any vulgar stuff coming from the stands,” said Dapprich. “That’s fine if you’re going to stop the game for that. But, if you’re going to stop it a second time, do something about it.”