North Notts Hockey Club had two men dismissed, scored two own goals and and were on the wrong side of a string of umpiring decision as they went down 4-2 at Burton in their return to league action.
The game was marred by controversies and errors which all went against the Manor Park side.
Notts manager Jay Faulkner said: “We were really unlucky today with some decisions and I’ve spoken to the umpire who has said he’d not had his best game.
“These things happen and I have to say I’m really impressed with the attitude of the lads.
“They stuck at it and never turned on the umpire. That said I take nothing away from Burton who probably would have edged it had the decisions gone for us.
“It was nice to come to Shobnall and play a team who were professional and gracious in victory.”
Notts were away to a Burton side who narrowly defeated them 4-3 in the opening game of the season, and the opening exchanges saw Notts looking more than capable of taking something from the game even with Allen Butler away in South Africa.
Nathan Smith, who is growing more and more into the season, looked good on the left side and kept the Burton right half pegged back and also produced moments of brilliance.
William Butler looked creative in midfield, but failed to find the link up with Singleton alongside him that Notts have been missing in recent weeks.
Burton finally took a lead through a speculative shot which Paulson unfortunately deflected into his own goal.
Five minutes later Paulson added a second when he tried to intercept a cross; the ball ricocheting off his stick and finding Unwin in goal flatfooted to leave Notts 2-0 down.
Further misery for Notts saw them reduced to 10 men when Butler was dismissed for reacting to an over zealous challenge.
The situation worsened when Kanalas was dismissed for a challenge that the umpire admitted he didn’t see.
At half-time Notts reshuffled and went on the offensive with Butler and Smith spearheading the attack.
But disaster struck five minutes into the second half when Burton added a third.
This didn’t hold Notts back, though, and they nearly got their rewards when a sublime short corner strike from Cooper appeared to hit a defender on the line. Amazingly the two people that didn’t see it were the two umpires and Notts were awarded a long corner.
The next attack, though, did see Notts get the penalty they deserved and this was dispatched by William Butler with ease.
At 3-1 with 20 minutes to go Notts went for broke and changed the playing formation. Unfortunately a breakaway by Burton earned them a fourth goal and somewhat killed the game off, although Notts again thought they were back in it when Cooper fired home, only for the shot to be adjudged outside the D.
Another big penalty shout for Notts was denied when maybe it should have been given and a great goal by Burton at the death left Notts wondering what might have been on another day.
Notts now have two crucial home games against Old Halesonians next week then Kings Heath Pickwick the following week. Both games are at Manor Park, starting at 2pm, and all support is welcome.
Notts are also looking for new members interested in joining before the end of the transfer window on 31st January.