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Steven: No way did I deserve to see a red

By Matt Leslie

Wick Academy v Cove Rangers, Wick Academy, Wick Academy FC, Michael Steven, Highland League
Wick Academy v Cove Rangers, Wick Academy, Wick Academy FC, Michael Steven, Highland League

WICK Academy skipper Michael Steven has protested his innocence following his controversial red card in Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Cove Rangers.

The defender was given his marching orders when players from both teams clashed inside the Scorries' penalty box.

Once the situation had calmed down, referee Liam Duncan flashed a straight red at Steven who looked stunned at what had just happened.

A penalty was then given to Cove – despite the ball being out of play and technically "dead" when the scuffle broke out – from which the visitors scored from via Mitch Megginson, who would add another after half-time.

It was suggested that Michael – whose brother Grant was also sent off later on in the game – had allegedly stamped on the head of Megginson.

It's an accusation that the player strongly denies.

He said: "That wasn't the case, no. To say I stamped on somebody is a fabricated story if you ask me. What happened was that following the save our keeper made I then cleared the ball. A Cove player who was trying to tackle me arrived late with his challenge and ended up fouling me.

"The referee actually gave a free-kick in my favour. Then the Cove players started to crowd around him. He then goes to his linesman who tells him that I had stamped on a Cove player – I had done no such thing.

"And as for the penalty award itself, if it was for anything that I had supposedly done, it should not have been awarded as the ball was out of play and dead. Two of the Cove players were saying afterwards that they couldn't believe that a penalty was given.

"My brother Grant took over the captaincy from me and he was sent off later on in the game as well. The Cove player he fouled retaliated but the ref did nothing about that.

"I don't know if the club will appeal my red card – we'll have to wait and see. However, that's me out for three games for something I didn't even do."

Wick boss Tom McKenna said: "The result wasn't great but I'm proud of the way the players competed and never gave up despite the setbacks of the red cards and the penalty.

"Gordon Clark had a great game in goal. Unfortunately, Sean McCarthy had a family bereavement this week but Gordon came in and made some great saves.

"Unfortunately, decisions out with our control influenced the outcome of this game. Until the first sending off, it was very evenly balanced but what was shaping to be a good game of football was spoiled by the red card."

* Read the match report in this week's Caithness Courier.

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