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Spirit hoping to keep points

By Glenn Cullen 13/04/2003 10:30:40 PM Comments (0)

Northern Spirit coach Lawrie McKinna is hoping a "substantial fine" is the worst punishment his side receives after the club used a player not listed on the team sheet in its 0-0 draw against Newcastle.

According to McKinna, replacement Adam Kwasnik was on the field for about 30 seconds when it was realised he was not listed.

While the club quickly pulled the striker from the pitch, it may yet prove a costly substitution with Soccer Australia understood to have the option of awarding full points to Newcastle.

With Newcastle keeper Daniel Beltrame being sent off for handling the ball outside the penalty area in the 34th minute the visitors were in a position to claim full points but instead may have left EnergyAustralia Stadium empty-handed.

"My gut feeling is it will be a fine but it was a complete oversight - on our behalf and from the fourth official," McKinna said.

SA will receive a match report from referee Matthew Breeze and will decide on the matter today or tomorrow.

The incident capped a dramatic fourth round of finals action that saw the first draws of the series with Parramatta Power holding Adelaide City to a point on Friday night and Perth Glory scoring a last-gasp 2-1 win over the Olympic Sharks at Toyota Park.

The visitors were beaten almost everywhere across the park but reigned supreme on the scoreboard with an 88th minute goal to replacement striker Nick Mrdja sealing the Sharks' fate.

Mrdja's effort, after a long Matt Horsley run, came after the second quickest goal of the year when key Glory striker Damian Mori took advantage of some lax defending by Olympic's Jade North to make it 1-0 after 35 seconds.

Between those goals the Sharks dominated, only poor final touches and a lack of penetration from the central midfield preventing the home side from striking back sooner than Ante Milicic's 56th minute penalty goal.

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