Referee changes mind about red card
by EZRA STUART
THERE WAS A RARE CASE of a footballer receiving a red card but still getting the green light to continue playing.
This was the major talking point of an intriguing Digicel Premier League triple-header at the YMCA Sunday night, overshadowing a hard-fought 2-1 victory by early season leaders Youth Milan over Caribsurf Paradise.
Experienced FIFA-accredited referee Mark "Bob" Forde issued a red card to Youth Milan's captain Michael Forde but then had a change of heart, and gave his namesake a yellow card.
The controversial incident came in the 65th minute with the scores locked 1-1 when the Youth Milan striker charged towards Paradise's defender Henderson "Blues" Best, who was wearing colourful green boots.
There was no contact between the two opposing players but referee Forde, who was not feeling well and even had to stop the game at one stage to leave the field, pulled the dreaded red card from his pocket.
He was then surrounded by the player's protesting teammates and after speaking to both camps, just cautioned Forde.
After the game, the referee admitted he made a mistake and noted he was free to change a decision once he had not restarted the game.
Milan, whose first-choice goalkeeper Adrian Chase was substituted at half-time with lower back pains, took a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute when Kenroy Skinner headed home a free-kick by Norman Forde.
Paradise equalised in the 63rd minute, when Justin Belgrave squeezed in a ball which slipped from the hands of second-string custodian Earlington Leacock after he dived at near post to keep out a Randy Burrowes shot.
Milan's winning goal was almost a carbon-copy of the first with Norman Forde again taking a free-kick from just past the halfway line and finding Skinner, who this time booted it past goalkeeper Jason Boxill for his fifth goal of the season.
The victory kept the Checker Hall, St Lucy side on top of the standings with 10 points, three clear of title-holders Claytons Kola Tonic Notre Dame, who scrambled a 1-1 draw with Carib Eden Stars in the feature match.
Eden Stars, still searching for an elusive first victory, took the lead in the 65th minute when Deomji Samuels netted a gem.
The goal followed a spectacular build-up with midfielder Kerry Forde playing the ball forward to striker Ian Jones, who switched it over the right flank for Cleve Boyce to cross over.
But Barbados' captain John Parris save the Dames' blushes with a fierce 79th minute free-kick which took a deflection and beat Romayne Primus, who had earlier brought off a string of impressive saves.
In the first game, Ajax Construction Silver Sands, courtesy of a double strike by substitute Shane Welch, twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Silky Soy Beverley Hills, who were extremely unlucky not to be awarded a penalty late in the game.
Rohan Hewitt gave the Hills a 1-0 lead on the stroke of half-time but Welch converted a 74th minute penalty and after Sherwin Daisley (76th) beat goalkeeper Vasco Husbands with a left-foot shot, Welch headed home a Peter Stoute free-kick in the 88th minute.