STEVE O’SHAUGHNESSY has vowed that his Canaries will battle on despite seeing top striker Chris Noone banned for the season.
The Caernarfon manager’s week went from bad to worse on Wednesday night when his charges lost 3-1 at Llangefni in the Loosemores Cup.
O’Shaughnessy had already seen Noone – scorer of four goals in as many games this term – effectively ruled out for the season after being banned for seven months for his part in an incident before he joined the Canaries.
Caernarfon’s week from hell also included a 2-1 home defeat to newly-promoted Neath Athletic, which saw striker Paul Addo and on-loan Wrexham goalkeeper Vinnie Whelan pick up suspensions.
Whelan is banned for a further two matches after missing Wednesday’s defeat, while Addo’s red card was his second of the season – both of which were adjudged to be harsh by O’Shaughnessy – and he will miss the next three games after being hit with a four-match suspension.
The Canaries had been flying high after starting the campaign with a five-match unbeaten run, but the triple suspension blow – together with injuries – leaves O’Shaughnessy having to call on reserves when Caernarfon host league leaders Llanelli tomorrow.
But it is the ban for Noone – for an incident in a five-a-side game during the summer which O’Shaughnessy wasn’t aware of – that the manager finds the bitterest pill to swallow.
“He was playing the game and the referee has given something, and he lost his temper and threw the ball at the referee,” said O’Shaughnessy. “It was described as assault – they’ve told me I can appeal but it’d just be a waste of time.
“He wasn’t even registered with us at the time. He’s got no history of this sort of thing – he’s been a very quiet since he joined us and he hasn’t even been booked, so it was quite a shock.
“Him and Paul Addo did well up front. Chris scored four in four games and we were looking good.
“It’s a big loss, simple as that. It’s two weeks after the deadline – if we’d known about it earlier we could have brought some players in.”
But O’Shaughnessy remains upbeat and said the Canaries could cope with the loss of Noone.
He said: “We’ve got four strikers – we’ve got Bobby Jones who’s come in this season, we’ve got John Rowley who’s scored a few already, and this year we’ve got enough bodies.
“This time last year we were down there with two or three points, so it’s good to have the points on the board. We’ve been beaten by Rhyl 1-0 to a set-piece, and we lost on Saturday because of the keeper’s stupidity in the last minute.
“To be fair we’re not doing too bad. It’s just disappointing we have lads suspended through stupidity and we’ve got players injured.”