Bridlington Town manager Gary Allanson described Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Garforth Town as ‘the most frustrating game I have been involved with’.
The Seasiders finished with nine men, but having taken the lead in the 91st minute, they conceded a dubious penalty even deeper into injury time, to allow the hosts to snatch a point.
Goalscorers Joel Sutton and Andy Norfolk were both dismissed by Cambridgeshire referee Paul Lister, who also showed Town goalkeeping coach Nick Baxter a red card after he went on to the pitch during a fracas.
Allanson was disappointed with the official’s performance but also felt there were question marks about his own decisions and those of some of his players.
“I think over the last two games we have lost a fantastic opportunity of consolidating second place in the league. We would have sent a message out that we were true contenders, but this week we have let ourselves down and we sit fifth.
“We had a discussion after the game and we made our frustrations and disappointments very clear. We cannot and will not allow our standards to drop, we have to keep driving ourselves forward.
“We have fantastic ability in this team and we have all let ourselves down, some players more than others and they know who they are.
“I include myself in this, I have to inspire and lead from the front, I didn’t make the right decisions at the right time to enable us to close the game down. To score in the 91st minute with nine men to take the lead and then to concede in the 94th was very, very hard to take.”
Sutton gave Town a first-half lead and converted a second half penalty before he was shown a straight red card for a foul. Norfolk nodded what looked like the winner in injury time, but having been booked before Town’s penalty, he picked up a second yellow card in the melee after Garforth were awarded their spot kick.
Allanson added: “I would like to think it is very rare that I question the officials, I understand how difficult it is for them, they get stick from all directions and I like to be honest and open.
“Last week I praised the officials on how they handled the game and it was the correct decision to play the game. This Saturday for about an hour I thought the officials did OK.
“We knew they were getting assessed so we knew they were under a lot of pressure but all of a sudden, the referee totally lost the plot, lost control of the game, lost respect from everyone in the ground.
“Joel Sutton’s sending off was embarrassing, it was a booking at the very least, it was a little mis-timed and a little high, their 6ft 3ins striker totally conned the referee and he fell for it.
“Their players’ reaction was out of order, causing a mass brawl which then saw Nick Baxter sent off, even though their manager and two subs ran on to the pitch and their goalkeeper had sprinted 60 yards to get involved and they went unpunished.
“The penalty at the end, he seemed desperate to give, the player just fell to the floor.
“Credit to Garforth they never gave up and battled to the very end, they have lost a lot of players to their previous manager and they are re-building a team.
“They have great team spirit and togetherness, they certainly enjoyed their performance with their celebrations after the game, but the video footage shows everything not good in the game.”
Allanson felt the game was there for the taking, but once again Town were left to rue missed chances.
“If we had taken our chances, we could have killed the game off and we would have finished the game with 11 men and cruised to victory.”