Bridlington Town could count themselves unlucky not to come away with something from retford United on Tuesday night.
In fact to say that they were robbed could be described as something of an understatement.
They were up against it from the 16th minute when debutant Tom Bennett was shown a straight red card by referee Ashley Guest for going in to challenge for a 50-50 ball with Graeme Severn.
The Retford defender screamed and rolled about as if he was seriously injured and the reaction from the home dugout did not help. Severn actually completed the full 95 minutes.
The remaining 10 Seasiders, 11 counting substitute Robbie Start, dug in and produced a magnificent performance, working and battling for each other right to the end.
Early on Wilberforce produced three superb saves to keep the Badgers out, but as the half progressed Town had their chances.
A run into the opposing area by Craig Palmer took him past two defenders before his strike was deflected behind for a corner and Ash Allanson was inches away from opening his side’s account.
Craig Aspinall saw his attempt hit the top of the bar and go behind for a goal kick as the first half, during which Chris Jenkinson was booked for a foul on Liam Wilkin, came to an end.
In the second period Jody Barford saved Joel Sutton’s low shot and his opposite number, Wilberforce, tipped round Reece Thompson’s effort.
Craig Hogg seized upon a poor back header from Craig Fisher but his lob over Barford drifted just past the upright while Sutton’s pace took him past Andy Walkden and Fisher before Barford blocked his shot at the expense of a corner, from which Palmer headed against the bar.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes there was a spate of bookings for Town players as they appeared to be punished for any indiscretion, although Retford substitute Gavin Cooper was also shown yellow card a minute after replacing Aspinall.
After four minutes time added on was indicated, Sheffield referee Guest awarded Retford a dubious free kick after three of them had elapsed and although Wilberforce punched away the initial effort when the ball was played back in Retford skipper James O’Neill struck it past the goalkeeper.
There was still time for Sutton to get behind the defence and into the area where he was brought down by Walkden but play was inexplicably allowed to continue.