Worthington fuming at defeat
Nigel Worthington was left fuming at referee Manuel Grafe's decision to award Konstantin Vassiljev's winning goal for Estonia against Northern Ireland.
Last Updated: 08/10/11 9:22am
Nigel Worthington was left fuming at referee Manuel Grafe's decision to award Konstantin Vassiljev's winning goal for Estonia against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.
The striker produced a stunning long-range strike after Grafe overlooked an offside flag raised against Martin Vunk in the build-up, deeming the ball to have come off captain Steven Davis.
And although replays supported that decision, Worthington was left angry with the manner in which the goal was scored as it ended their slim hopes of making the Euro 2012 play-offs.
The game had started well for the hosts after Davis opened the scoring with his fourth international goal, but second-half substitute Vassiljev turned the game on its head with two goals in the final 15 minutes.
And Worthington told Sky Sports 4: "All I saw was the linesman's flag go up, I turned around to get a bottle of water and all of a sudden the ball's in the net.
"I saw the flag, the players saw the flag and stopped and the ball's carried on.
"Some things you are in control of, some you aren't. It's harsh, but it's been done - he's showed his hand all night, but we'll stick together and get on with it."
Despite defeat, Worthington praised his side's efforts, both tonight and throughout the campaign, adding: "I thought in the first half we played exceptionally well, and they played particularly well in the second," he said. "It's hugely disappointing but we'll have to bounce back.
"I can't fault the players for their commitment and attitude. I don't think there's a hell of a lot else we could have done, we've had solid performances, good commitment, pride in the shirt, and that's all you can ask.
"That's just frustration and disappointment; it seems to be the fashion nowadays. I know where we're at with the size of the country and the quality of people we've got, and we'll try our best to turn it around."