By Jonathon Reilly
Bathgate Thistle suffered a 4-2 league defeat at home to Edinburgh United after two controversial penalty decisions swayed the match in favour of the east coast side.
The Jags had taken the lead in only the second minute when Bryan Jaconelli weaved his way past several United defenders before calmly dispatching the ball past goalkeeper Connar Easton.
That early opener was cancelled out by Jordan Hopkinson’s cool finish three minutes after the interval, however, Martin Jack restored Bathgate’s advantage 10 minutes later when he connected with Gordon Harris’ low cross from the left to tap into an empty net.
Honours were once again even on the hour mark as Christopher Robertson placed a composed header into the bottom corner of Gavin McQuillan’s goal.
With both teams matching one another for commitment and desire as they searched for a winner, the game’s turning point arrived with just eight minutes of play remaining.
Bathgate defender Darren Mcintosh was adjudged to have fouled Robertson inside the box when it seemed that any initial contact was made well outside the area.
United’s Gabriele Auriemma duly sent the resultant spot kick into the bottom corner to make it 3-2.
The same player was then given an opportunity to double his tally for the afternoon and put United out of sight with five minutes remaining when the referee awarded another soft penalty after Robertson went down easily amongst a cluster of bodies even though any contact appeared minimal at best.
And Auriemma did just that, sending McQuillan the wrong way and consequently ending the match as a contest.
Bathgate will feel justifiably aggrieved not to have taken at least the point their performance deserved as a result of two poor refereeing decisions.
The Creamery Park outfit now sit in seventh position with 20 points from 16 games – level with Saturday’s opposition, who lie one place below – and will take on Stoneyburn Juniors in a friendly tomorrow night at Bathgate Sports Centre. The match will kick off at 7:15pm.