Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson was left fuming after a clear handball went unnoticed in the build-up to the only goal of the game in his side's 1-0 loss to league leaders Central Coast at Bluetongue Stadium yesterday.
Central Coast substitute Bernie Ibini-Isei found the net with a clever finish in the 68th minute after referee Strebre Delovski missed the lanky striker's arm making contact with the ball.
There was also a hint of a push by Ibini-Isei on Glory defender Scott Jamieson, who fell to ground under pressure in the process of mistiming an attempted clearance with his head.
The controversy surrounding the goal could not hide the fact that Glory failed to carve out enough scoring chances at the other end.
Marquee striker Shane Smeltz missed a sitter from 6m with the visitors' only real clear-cut attempt on goal in a lacklustre contest played in hot conditions.
"I was obviously very disappointed with the goal," Ferguson said.
"I thought it was a free kick (to Jamieson) to start with and then there's a handball that's guided it into his pathway.
"He's chipped Danny (Vukovic) and scored the goal but for me it was the wrong decision and it's cost us the game again."
Glory had the major share of early possession but neither side could fashion a genuine chance until Steven McGarry crossed to an unmarked Smeltz on the edge of the six-yard box in the 35th minute.
But Smeltz, who has scored just once from open play in an injury- interrupted season, sent his first-time volley wide with Mariners keeper Matt Ryan out of his ground.
Glory custodian Danny Vukovic was rarely called into action at the other end as the Mariners managed just one shot before half-time.
The game came to life early in the second half when Josh Rose's cross from the left found the head of Adam Kwasnik, who guided the ball into the net but saw his strike correctly ruled out for offside.
Ibini-Isei's goal stung Ferguson into action. The Glory coach brought on fresh legs in the form of Billy Mehmet and Nick Ward.
Bas van den Brink was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute. His mandatory one-game suspension will leave Glory severely undermanned for Sydney FC's visit to nib Stadium on Saturday.
Michael Thwaite will miss at least another fortnight with a torn calf muscle, leaving Ferguson with few options without his first-choice pairing in the centre of defence.
Steve Pantelidis will remain at centre-back after replacing Thwaite for the Mariners game and is most likely to be partnered by Dean Heffernan or captain Jacob Burns against Sydney.
·Adelaide United returned to the winners list by thrashing Sydney FC 3-0 last night.
"I was obviously very disappointed with the goal it's cost us the game again.""Glory coach *Ian Ferguson *