Bridlington Town boss Curtis Woodhouse labelled the referee’s conduct in his side’s 1-1 draw at Pickering Town as a disgrace.
Referee Christopher Ellis sent Brid’s Tim Taylor off 10 minutes before half-time for showing dissent towards the assistant referee, leaving the visitors to play for almost an hour with only 10 men.
Woodhouse said: “I will not defend Tim for showing dissent, but when the referee is swearing at players from both sides throughout the game you can understand why players get frustrated.
“That is the worst refereeing I have seen in a match in my 20 years in football, it was a disgrace
“Then we find out that my assistant Ian Ashbee was hit by a misconduct charge from the referee! Who holds the officials to account for their conduct?”
Despite the sending-off Woodhouse was keen to underline how well his side played throughout the game.
He added: “We played some of the best football I have seen since I came here, we deserved to win the game and played proper football throughout.
“I chatted with their manager after the game and he admitted that we should have won the game.
“Our fans were superb, we took a lot down to Pickering and it made for a good atmosphere for a cracking derby game.”
The boss is frustrated that his players’ lack of discipline may well prove costly in their pursuit of the NCEL Premier Division title.
The ex-Birmingham midfielder said: “We will now lose Tim for three games, Tom Fleming is suspended for a couple and striker Brett Agnew will also miss three so our squad is starting to look a bit threadbare.
“I am looking to get a new centre-forward in and have been looking for a new players, hopefully over the next couple of days we will have some news on this.”
Woodhouse now has his sights set on Saturday’s home game with Bottesford Town.
He said: “This is now is a must-win game, we have earned four of a possible nine from three big matches so we need a victory to put the pressure back on the leaders Cleethorpes.”
On Bank Holiday Monday the Pikes, as on Boxing Day, tended to play deep, being content to soak up pressure and hit their opponents on the counter-attack.
Pikes keeper Toby Wells was the busier of the two custodians and after collecting a speculative effort from Jamie Forrester, he plucked the ball from the feet of Agnew when Joel Sutton had played him in.
Pickering skipper Niall Tilsley broke up two attacks with timely tackles but the visitors thought they had taken the lead when Wells parried a shot and Sutton followed up to put the ball into the net but he was adjudged offside by the referee’s assistant.
Ten minutes before half time came a turning point in the game.
Brid were awarded a throw-in and after it had been taken the referee reversed his decision and the throw was awarded to the hosts.
Taylor was shown a red card for his over-exuberant protestations about the U-turn and Sutton was booked.
Two minutes later Pickering took the lead from their only attempt on goal in the first half when Ryan Blott held up the ball in the Bridlington penalty area then played it square for Robert Chipps to fire home.
In the last minute of the half former Bridlington player Eddy Birch was cautioned for a crude tackle on Andy Norfolk on the edge of the area and from Jack Walters’ free kick Norfolk put a free header over the bar.
Although they were a man down the Seasiders still pressed forward but their exertions were taking their toll and Pickering came more into the game with Hitchcock twice pulling off saves when a goal looked on the cards.
The Seasiders brought on the fresh legs of Harry Fox and Kurtis Bedford and appeared to find their second wind with both Sutton and Nicky McNamara going close to equalising.
They sensed that there was something in the game for them and in the last 10 minutes laid siege to the Pickering goal.
Norfolk was again fouled just outside the area and this time he was on target from Walters’ free kick but again a raised flag cancelled out what appeared to be a legitimate goal.
Three minutes from time Birch was injured when making another late tackle and was shown a yellow card when he eventually got to his feet.
Referee Ellis, after being prompted by the visiting players, belatedly realised he had already booked Birch and produced a red card.
With time added on approaching Bridlington were awarded a free-kick near the corner flag and Walters sent in a cross that was met by the head of captain for the day McNamara and it took a deflection on its way in for the equaliser.
Brid Town: Hitchcock, Taylor, Walters, McNamara (c), Jenkinson, Knaggs, Norfolk, Forrester (Fox 70), Agnew, Sutton, Waudby (Bedford 75)
Unused substitute: Wain (Gk)