Referee controversy as Clipstone hold high-fliers Bottesford

High-flying Bottesford came away with a point from a 0-0 draw at Clipstone on Saturday on an afternoon in which the referee ended up grabbing the spotlight.

The home side were involved in their first fall-out with the referee before kick-off when he decided the pitch markings were not clear enough and demanded they were re-marked.

Unable to contact the groundsman, club stalwart Barry Clarke saved the day as he marked out both penalty areas with watered down white emulsion and a sponge mop.

The game eventually started brightly in extremely blustery conditions and, after 10 minutes or so, Clipstone started to control the midfield, and created the better of the goalscoring opportunities.

Both Liam Pride and Keiran Watson had gilt-edged chances to open the scoring, both deciding to place their shots instead of going for power, Bottesford keeper Kerrick somehow managing to keep both out.

Bottesford’s best effort came on 33 minutes when, from a corner, the ball eventually landed at the feet of full back Tom Spall, whose deflected ball floated on top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick.

Then on 43 minutes Craig Bridge decided to kick at thin air and let the ball go out for yet another goal kick.

The second half began in a similar fashion as the first half, Clipstone retaining a lot of possession but not finding the final ball, the very blustery conditions not helping.

On 56 minutes Jay Edwards found himself free on the edge of the area, but his curling effort went high and wide.

Almost immediately Watson ran onto a Pride through ball with the last defender inches behind him 35 yards from goal.

Watson appeared to be brought down, but the referee elected instead to give a free kick to Bottesford instead.

Moments later a similar situation occurred with Carl Snowden, again the referee giving the decision to the away side.

On 68 minutes Nathan Millington was replaced by Carl Haslam.

Five minutes later he was on a run on the left, beat one defender inside the area, but his cross to the near post was cleared without a Clipstone player anywhere near, Snowden and Watson both gambling on a far post cross.

Right on 90 minutes Watson had a great chance as he pulled the ball down on the edge of the area, this time going for power instead of finesse, only to clear the crossbar with ease.

Moments later came the most controversial moment of the game.

The linesman on the far touchline waved for the referee to come over. After a few moments of discussion, he called for Snowden to come over to him and brandished a straight red card for what was probably foul and abusive language.

Bizzarely, as Snowden was leaving the field the referee chased after him and showed him a second red card, and within seconds of re-starting the game, the final whistle was blown on an afternoon of controversy.

CLIPSTONE: Eley, Armstrong, Paling, R. Austin, Pride, M. Austin, Edwards, Webster, Snowden, Watson, Millington (Haslam). Subs not used: Carty, Allan, Bramwell.