Aberdeen Women manager Clint Lancaster was left furious at the referee’s display after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Spartans in the Scottish Cup.
At Ainslie Park, Spartans went 1-0 up in the fourth-round clash through captain Robyn McCafferty in the 64th minute, before substitute Darcie Miller levelled the score 13 minutes later.
But with seven minutes left, Becky Galbraith restored Spartans’ lead with a close-range finish which secured the Edinburgh side’s place in the quarter final.
Lancaster was disappointed by referee Brent Falconer’s display.
He said: “We were much better than Spartans.
“They have got players throwing themselves on to the floor. The referee was an absolute shambles. The officiating was so bad.
“He said Darcie had given away a free-kick for diving, but didn’t book her. So, how does that work? How does that make sense?
“Second half we just weren’t good enough. We didn’t play like we had been playing in the first half when we were all over them. We were the much better team.
“It is frustrating because we were up against a team who were desperate to beat us. They are second bottom in the league and they are struggling.
“It’s not points, but best of luck to them in the cup.
“For me, we played them off the park in the first half. They didn’t lay a glove on us.
“But then they lump the ball down to their striker and she is diving about on the floor anytime Maddie (Finnie) touches her – and then, hey, the referee gives away the free-kick.”
Dons fail to progress to Scottish Cup quarter-finals
Lancaster made two changes from last weekend’s SWPL defeat to Rangers, with Francesca Ogilvie and Adele Lindbaek, who was making her first start for the club, coming in for Aimee Black and Hannah Innes.
The Dons went close inside the opening five minutes, but Spartans goalkeeper Alicia Yates held Eilidh Shore’s header from a corner.
It had been all Aberdeen until the home side looked to hit on the break as Galbraith burst into the box and hit a tame effort that was saved by goalkeeper Jeni Currie.
Galbraith saw another shot, this time from the edge of the box after some nice build-up play, well held by the Dons custodian.
Spartans goalkeeper Yates gifted possession to Ogilvie, but was not punished as the Aberdeen winger hit it straight back to her, before Lindbaek unleashed a long-range effort over the bar.
The woodwork kept the game at 0-0 as Bayley Hutchison got on the end of a flicked header from Hannah Stewart, and her strike came back off the post.
And up the other end, Spartans also hit the woodwork as Caley Gibb’s strike clipped the post.
With almost the last touch of the first half, Currie made a superb stop to deny Hannah Robinson from only a couple yards out, after the Spartans winger had been played through with a pass across the face of goal.
In the second half, it was the Dons who went close first when Stewart hit a looping effort that was well claimed in the air by Yates.
Lancaster was forced to make a substitution on the hour mark as defender Lois Edwards limped off and forward Miller came on in her place.
A mix up at the back gifted Hannah Jordan a strike on the edge of the box, that was deflected behind for a corner.
From the resulting set-piece, the home side went 1-0 as McCafferty tapped the ball home from a couple yards out after a stramash in the box which Aberdeen failed to clear.
Simone McMahon looked to double Spartans’ advantage with a free-kick from 20 yards out, but she hit her effort just over the bar.
Aberdeen had to make another substitute due to injury as Keeley Banfield came off for Keira MacPherson.
It was the Dons substitute who created the equaliser as Miller got the better of her marker and burst into the box, before unleashing a superb strike over the top of Yates which dropped into the back of the net.
The game was not level for long though as Galbraith got on the end of a great move to stab home Mya Bates’ ball sent in from the left flank.
A clearance of the line from MacPherson kept the score at 2-1 after Spartans’ Jordan looked to score her side’s third from distance.
The game was as getting scrappy as it neared an end with Aberdeen’s Chloe Gover and Ogilvie shown yellow cards, as was Gibb for Spartans.
There was one last chance for the Dons in injury time as Ogilvie headed Stewart’s cross towards goal, but it was held by Yates – and Spartans progressed to the last eight of the Scottish Cup.