Controversy reigns in disappointing draw

JEWSON SOCCER: Hadleigh United 0 Stanway Rovers 0. Three red cards, six bookings but alas no goals, was the outcome of a controversial Jewson League First Division game between Hadleigh and Stanway at Millfield on Saturday.

By Mike Bacon

JEWSON SOCCER

JEWSON LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

Hadleigh United 0 Stanway Rovers 0

THREE red cards, six bookings but alas no goals, was the outcome of a controversial Jewson League First Division game between Hadleigh and Stanway at Millfield on Saturday.

An eagerly-anticipated clash between two of the division's top sides descended into farce as referee Mr R Green from Upper Marham took centre stage, aided by some poor discipline in the Stanway ranks.

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The Essex side were the ones on the receiving end of Mr Green's red cards – Kevin Ingles, Ricky Schafter and coach Tony Kinsella, all banished from proceedings. But in truth the referee didn't help himself in a game where not one bad tackle was made.

All the sendings-off happened in a stormy second-half, but not before the referee had continually frustrated both sides in the first 45 minutes, overusing his whistle, booking players for innocuous challenges and making sure every free-kick was taken on the exact square inch the offence was committed.

It could be argued Mr Green was only applying the letter of the law, but quite frankly, both sides clearly just wanted to play football – it was a hard-fought encounter, but never malicious.

Referee baiting is a common theme these days, but in defence of Mr Green he had little option in sending off Ingles and Schafter, who both showed dissent while arguing about his decisions. And Kinsella, becoming increasingly frustrated with the referee's handling of the game, was also asked to leave the dugout.

A point apiece does no harm to either side, but the ramifications for Stanway could be more severe. Already missing the suspended Jimmy Clewley, they will now lose Schafter and the influential Ingles for at least a month as Rovers pursue their dream of gaining promotion to the Premier Division.

Hadleigh too harbour that same hope, but they will be disappointed they could not make their two-man numerical advantage count in the final 18 minutes as the visitors, marshalled superbly at the back by captain Richard Schultz, held firm.

It was a perfect day for football, with the Hadleigh pitch looking in excellent condition. Both teams took time to settle before Stanway opened the attacking with the first corner after five minutes that Wayne Donovan in the home goal punched clear.

Glen Driver had a shot deflected after a good flick by Schafter for the visitors, before good work by Hadleigh's Nigel Bradford put Kieron Donovan in, but his cross was too long.

Ingles was prominent and his cross into the six-yard box saw no Stanway forward following in. And Ingles also shot over from a 35-yard free kick, after Schafter was clattered by Kieron Donovan.

Little was seen of the home side in the first 20 minutes and it was Stanway who were forcing the corners and doing most of the pressing.

Driver showed some nice skill in the 22nd minute, but again no-one was in the box to connect, and Danny Stanley, finding acres of space down the visitors' right, crossed but Schafter headed wide.

Chris Dennett crossed well for Hadleigh, only for Tony Cracknell to just fail to connect solidly and Kieron Donovan headed wide after good work again by Dennett.

Ingles was booked within one minute of the second period before Dennett almost broke the deadlock, thumping a superb left-foot shot from 25 yards against a post, with David Schultz beaten.

Schafter was sent off on the hour, reacting to the referee after sliding in late on Bradford. And Mark Johnson headed onto the top of his own bar as Stanway's 10-men came under pressure.

With 18 minutes left, Ingles received a second yellow card – again for dissent – and the referee asked Kinsella at this point to leave the dugout.

With nine men left on the pitch, Stanway did well to hold off relentless Hadleigh attacks, with the best chance of the period falling to substitute Kevin Godbold, who headed narrowly wide with 10 minutes left.

STANWAY manager Steve Ball was left disillusioned as he watched his club receive three red cards at Hadleigh.

"Referees make it so hard on themselves. We all know they don't have it easy, but common sense seems to have gone out of the window.

"Quite honestly it has come to the stage where I'll just walk away from the game if it continues at this rate. You give your time up, look forward to the game and all this stuff goes off.

"We have now had five sent off this season and quite honestly I can't think of one that was fully deserved. It could cost us dear this season; Ingles will be a big loss.

"I thought we dominated the first half but our problem was our quality in the final third."

Meanwhile Hadleigh manager Louis Newman was left annoyed at his side's inability to break down nine men: "Forget the officials, I'm more disappointed we didn't have the sense or nous to utilise two extra men.

"They surprised us at the start by playing three at the back and I had to change it. It can get tough when a side goes down to 10 men, but nine, we should have won."

But Newman has been boosted by the news that Chris Dennett has turned down an offer from Halstead and is staying at Millfield. "Yes, I'm staying here despite Halstead's interest," he said.

"I really enjoyed the game but they defended well, especially when down to nine. I tried to knock it about but they are a good side."

Rovers' captain Richard Schultz said: "After the sendings-off we dug deep and deserved a point. We are pleased with that and worked hard to get a draw."

Hadleigh forward Tony Cracknell said: "It was never a dirty game and the referee lost it a bit.

"At the end of the day we got a point and I suppose before the start we would have taken it, although as things turned out we are a bit disappointed."

Clacton 1 Mildenhall 1

CLACTON extended their unbeaten run to five games but it was a close run thing. After taking the lead Clacton held out until the 90th minute.

Clacton started off well and should have been a goal up in the first few minutes when Paul Hillier crossed to Lee McGlone, who headed over. Mildenhall hit back and Darren Gould the Clacton goalkeeper had to race off his line to save at the feet of Rob Aldis, who was clean through.

At this stage Mildenhall were putting Clacton under a great deal of pressure which kept Gould on his toes. Stuart Ogilvie was just wide with a low shot, then Matt Eldon shot over the bar after being put through by Ogilvie.

Right on the half-time whistle Clacton took the lead from a free-kick, Richard Cox shooting high into the net.

In the second half Aldis shot over when he should at least have been on target, as did Brown a few minutes later for Clacton. Gould made two outstanding saves but he was grateful to his defenders who cleared off the line on three occasions.

In the last minute Mildenhall at last scored the goal which had been on the cards for some time, when a scramble in the Clacton goalmouth saw Aldis poke the ball over the line.

AFC Sudbury 2 Maldon 1

AFTER their disappointing midweek performance which brought their first League defeat of the season AFC Sudbury bounced back on Saturday, victory against Maldon seeing them join Wroxham at the top of the table – although the Norfolk side stay top by virtue of a better goal difference.

Despite the absence of several key players AFC deservedly led by two goals before a late reply for Maldon set up an anxious last 10 minutes.

Maldon keeper Wootten was in early action saving from Bennett, Owen and Banya before Maldon should have taken the lead.

Docking played a ball over the defence with Bailey side-stepping Howlett only to shoot wide with the goal at his mercy. Banya looked to have been brought down in the penalty area but nothing was given and then Taylor's cross glanced off defender Shade's head just past his own post.

At the other end a goalbound shot from Hutley was blocked and cleared before AFC went ahead, a long ball from Nower falling perfectly for Rayner to coolly shoot low past Wootten.

At the start of the second half Banya equalled the first half Maldon miss and then only two superb saves by Wootten denied Rayner and Bennett.

Nower saved equally well from Docking before AFC Sudbury increased their lead Betson taking advantage of Wootten's poor clearance to start the move that ended with Rayner crossing to Betson, who played the ball back to the far post, where Banya headed home.

Wootten stopped Rayner making it three before Nower stretched backwards to scoop out a cross from Smith from under his own bar – but minutes later Maldon pulled a goal back when another long ball played over the square home defence saw Witney run on and shoot low past Nower.

Woodbridge Town 2 Histon Res 0

WOODBRIDGE bounced back from two disappointing defeats by producing a spirited performance against the side in third place in the Premier Division.

A goal in each half from Shaun Curtis helped Woodbridge to record their fifth league win of the season and if the Woodpeckers can maintain this sort of form they should be able to make progress up the table.

After a confidence-shattering setback in midweek the boost of an early goal was just the tonic Woodbridge needed and in the fourth minute Curtis collected the ball and finished with his customary coolness. Before then Glyn Dixon had made a fine save to keep out a header from Gary Walker but apart from this Histon caused few alarms. Instead it was the home side that enjoyed the better chances and Matty Hunt in particular wasted a good opening by heading wide from six yards out.

Strong penalty appeals when Gavin Crane seemed to be clearly impeded were turned down and after the break Woodbridge continued to control the game. Curtis forced Lee Hulyer into a low save and Hunt fired across the face of goal before Curtis struck again in the 68th minute with a fierce shot that hit the underside of the bar and bounced just over the line.

The visitors became more of a threat in the last quarter of the game and Benny Murray should have done better instead of blazing over with the goal at his mercy.

Woodbridge continued to fight until the final whistle and although Crane's stoppage time chip bounced off the top of the bar it could take nothing away from a much improved display by the Woodpeckers.

Tiptree United 2 Ely City 1

A SECOND win on the trot for Tiptree saw them bounce back up into the top six in the league table having put a disappointing run of form behind them.

However at half-time this result looked quite unlikely as the hosts found it hard to break down a resolute defence after having gone a goal down on just five minutes.

Despite taking the game to their visitors in the opening stages Tiptree were caught on the break early on and in Ely's first attack Dave Cromwell crossed from the right wing for Gareth Lippiatt to head home at the far post.

Ely went on to create the best chances of the first half with Lippiatt sending another header just wide of the post and Daniel Munns curling a free-kick just wide of Michael Bavester's goal.

But the second half was a different story. Again opening on the attack it took just 10 minutes before Tiptree were back on level terms with an excellent goal.

Although there was a suspicion of offside, Andy Brady crossed from the byline, David Barefield flicked the ball to the back post and Paul Davis volleyed past the Ely goalkeeper for a well deserved equaliser.

There followed a string of chances for Tiptree to clinch victory. First Barefield slipped when clear through on goal and Alec Banthorpe just managed to scoop the ball away to safety. Then a few minutes later Brady bore down on the Ely keeper but again he was equal to the challenge.

Just when Ely looked to come back into the game in the latter stages, Tiptree finally took what proved to be a decisive lead just five minutes from time.

Steve Wareham, whose return looks to be a welcome boost to the Tiptree season, swung in a corner and this time the roles were reversed as Davis turned provider heading the ball goalwards for Barefield to flick it home from just a yard out.

Soham Town Rangers 1 Harwich & Parkeston 0

HARWICH and Parkeston slumped to a narrow defeat in a match that was played in conditions that were described as farcical.

A heavy rain storm that fell an hour before kick-off reduced the pitch to a mud bath. The referee inspected the surface twice before allowing the game to go ahead but understandably the proceedings were littered with mistakes.

Harwich included two new signings in their line-up. Nathan Munson made his debut in goal and Simon Mann, a youngster who has just been released by Colchester United, took his place in the Harwich rearguard.

The Essex side had a narrow escape during the very first minutes when a shot whistled narrowly wide of Munson's post. Both sides then squandered scoring chances with Munson the busiest of the two keepers. The Harwich debutant was called upon to make several saves the best of which was an excellent tip over as the home side began to get to grips with the conditions.

For their part Harwich had a chance from a free kick that rebounded only for Nathan Mann to force the ball wide. Craig Chaplin then got in a shot that was well saved by the Soham keeper.

In the second half Gareth Heath hit the side netting and Armstrong shot over the bar as Harwich tried hard to open the scoring but things went wrong for them on 78 minutes when Soham grabbed the winner with a simple tap-in.

Bury Town 2 Wisbech Town 1

BURY, looking to get back on winning track after two recent league defeats, faced a tough task against lively visitors who have shown some good away form since their return to Jewson action.

Bury opened strongly and it came as no surprise when they went ahead after 18 minutes. A well-rehearsed set-piece saw Tatham's free-kick headed against the far post by Miller and the eager Harrison slotted home the rebound from close in.

As the half wore on, Wisbech hit back and the woodwork twice came to Bury's rescue.

The equaliser came after 32 minutes when Sedlan was allowed to collect a through ball and beat Bugg from close range. The striker might have put the visitors ahead soon afterwards but he shot tamely at Bugg from close in. Stringfellow, defying earlier injury reports, had the ball in the Wisbech net just before the interval but was ruled offside.

Wisbech opened strongly afterwards and Bury were fortunate to see a drive from Jimson rebound off the post into Bugg's hands.

Bury stuck to their task well and went ahead on the hour when Tatham's well-directed free-kick was headed past his own keeper by Jimson, under strong pressure from Eady.

Wisbech hit back and the home defence had to dig deep to fend off the visitors, Flanz heading high over when well-placed at the far post.

The Bury wisely decided to steer the ball into safer waters to deny determined visitors a point.

Ipswich Wanderers 2 Lowestoft 6

A STRONG showing by the visitors in the second half sealed the points at Humber Doucy Lane on Saturday.

Lowestoft dominated the first 20 minutes and it was no surprise when an inswinging free-kick from Stokeld flew into the net.

Baker equalised for the home side before that man Stokeld netted again for the visitors.

The second half was a total onslaught against the home side.

Stokeld completed his hat-trick before King netted numbers four and five.

It got worse for the home side as keeper Stannard was sent off for bringing McGee down – the same player got up and made it six.

Wanderers pulled a late goal back through Baker.

JEWSON LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION

Needham 5 Warboys 1

NEEDHAM started with a goal in the first minute from the impressive Lee Briggs who side-footed beyond Mackey from K Folkard's astute pass.

Neil Cole doubled the lead with a shot that Mackey allowed to go through his hands and over the line.

Needham had the better of the exchanges but could not add to the scoreline. Kevin Holland made a superb double save from King and Setchell midway through the half.

After the break Setchell pulled one back when he got the final touch in a crowded goal area to shoot past Holland. The same player then had the ball in the net again but King had impeded Holland and the referee disallowed the effort.

Needham then upped the tempo for the last 20 minutes and added a further three goals.

Briggs was causing the visitors' defence problems with his runs down the left flank, and from his crosses Marc Wake added two side-foot finishes.

Briggs then had a shot saved by Mackey but the ball went to Wake who shot home for his hat-trick and Needham's fifth. It was a good win for Needham and at times they looked a very good side with Briggs and Wake looking impressive.

Felixstowe & Walton 1 Godmanchester Rovers 1

FELIXSTOWE & Walton's 10-match losing run was finally halted on Saturday as they collected their first league point since early October against a well-organised and youthful Godmanchester side making their first-ever visit to Dellwood Avenue.

Manager Paul Adams' injury crisis continued unabated as Mick Felgate, who had been influential in the recent revival of the side's form, failed a late fitness test on a damaged knee and Simon Daniels, returning after a four-match absence, to replace him limped out of the game after just 14 minutes with a knee injury.

The Seasiders found themselves under early pressure from the visitors with Charters saving well to deny Kemp before Carnameti headed over and then saving from Potter at the expense of a corner.

The home side began to get into the game after the 20 minute mark and Bigger produced a brilliant 39th minute save to deny Thurkettle, turning his stunning volley onto the bar and away to safety before they broke the deadlock in time added on by the referee at the end of the first half.

Thompson had run through unmarked but spooned his shot over with the goal at his mercy and from the goal-kick Felixstowe & Walton won a free kick just inside the Godmanchester half. Etti rose to head Clarke's kick back across goal and Fuller swooped to head home from close range.

Looking the stronger side after the break, the home side looked to have extended their lead in the 51st minute when Hurst cleared the ball looking a yard behind his goal line but the referee waved play on and Bigger got down well to deny Fuller from close range five minutes later.

Having weathered a stream of attacks from the home side Godmanchester grabbed an equaliser in the 77th minute as the home defence failed to cut out a cross-field pass and substitute Squires ran onto the loose ball to beat Charters with a low shot from 12 yards.

It was a nervous last 10 minutes from the Seasiders, who had seen so many games slip away from them in the final minutes, but they held on with Andrews again outstanding in defence and Fuller dropping into midfield to bolster the defence.

SUFFOLK SENIOR CUP SECOND ROUND

Long Melford 1 Haverhill Rovers 0

THIS was a revival of the past for both teams, although both squads were weakened through large injury lists.

Melford went ahead after 29 minutes. A ball found Irvine wide and free down the left. His perfect cross diagonally to the far post found Darren Judd unmarked. He headed home for what turned out to be the winner.

A good chance came to Haverhill almost immediately with Carling free in the penalty area, his hard-hit shot was pushed round the post by keeper Haygreen.

The resultant corner taken by Walker, was headed over the Melford bar by Jenkins.

A fierce tackle by Hunt on Devereux produced a yellow card for the Haverhill midfielder.

On the stroke of half-time, Melford almost increased their lead. Irvine crossed in to the box and a Devereux header was pushed round the post by keeper Walton.

Last year's finalists Haverhill came out for the second half in determined fashion. Cowling blasted over the bar, Neil Groom fired wide of an upright and Jenkins again shot wide.

The Melford defence, well marshalled by Marc Dack and Mick Stratton, held firm.

Ironically a good chance came at the other end, Devereux was again released and his fierce shot on the run was pushed wide by keeper Walton.

On 75 minutes, Haverhill should have levelled. Payne whipped in a good cross to Jenkins who, from eight yards, blasted over the bar.

The referee dismissed Cowling for foul and abusive language, increasing the problems for Haverhill.

Achilles 2 Tuddenham Rovers 0

A COMPETITIVE cup tie between two evenly-matched teams with Tuddenham Rovers from the Cambs Premier League conceding two late second-half goals, ensuing Achilles entry into the next round of the competition.

Rovers, previous winners of the Junior Cup in three successive seasons and entering the senior competition for the first time, showed their class in the opening exchanges and attacked continually, putting the home defence under pressure.

Home keeper Richards was in action, holding a close-range header from the visitors' striker Reggwifib and a lob was cleared off the line by Barber with the keeper beaten. In the isolated home attacks, a header from Barber was scrambled away by a defender and Reeder just failed to tap home a cross from Taylor.

Achilles' luck held in the 38th minute when a shot from Hawes struck an upright with the keeper beaten.

The home attack looked sharper after the break, but it was the visitors who looked the more dangerous, Richards saving at the feet of Rutter and a volley from Reggwifib deflecting off the crossbar.

As the visitors' attack tired, Achilles took control, breaking the deadlock in the 77th minutes with Barber lobbing the keeper from inside the box. On the restart, Rovers missed a chance to equalise; Murkin firing wide with only the keeper to beat. Achilles booked their spot in the next round when Reeder netted the second in the third minute of injury time.

Quarter-final draw

Kirkley v Cornard, Walsham-le-Willows v Long Melford, Stowmarket Reserves v Bramford United, Achilles v Stanton. Ties to be played on Saturday, January 4.

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