There was controversy and drama by the bucketful on Saturday as PDFL title contenders Oakham United and Netherton United drew 1-1.
Oakham dominated the game especially in the first half but failed to take their chances. However Eddie McDonald blasted the away side into the lead on the hour mark.
There was no argument with Jake Sansby’s 90th-minute equaliser for Netherton, although Oakham assistant manager Andrew Bailey said he was surprised when it came because his side were handling the mounting pressure put on them.
But then Oakham’s Robbie Dance went down the other end of the field and put the ball in the back of the net in injury-time after McDonald had a shot saved only for referee Sarah Grundy to disallow the goal and spark an explosion of confusion and anger amongst the Oakham players.
Bailey said he still isn’t clear why the goal wasn’t given. Grundy was reported to say the goal was disallowed because of a foul on the keeper.
Bailey said: “We felt there was massive injustice done to us. All the lads were around the ref, there must have been a group of about 16 players and there was some argy-bargy going on.
“It felt like a lose at the end. We were desperately disappointed.
“To have the character to concede a late goal and go and score was great. There is absolutely no shame in the performance.”
However after watching his side dominate the tie on Netherton’s artificial pitch Bailey said: “We didn’t lose the game because of the action in the last few minutes we lost it because we failed to kill them off earlier in the match.
“Leagues are not won and lost in December, but when you are playing a team like Netherton who are a side who said they were going to win the league this year after narrowly missing out last year, it is important.
“But at the start of the year if you had said we would take four points off Netherton in the league we would have taken that. “
Oakham’s draw was the best result for Coates Athletic. They were without a game on Saturday, but stay top of the PDFL Premier by a point from Oakham who have two games in hand. Netherton are a further eight points adrift, but they have four games in hand on Coates and two on Oakham.
Oakham’s opponents on Saturday Stilton joined Netherton on 33 points following their thrilling 4-3 win at Thorney. Player-manager Mark Baines scored for Stilton as did Liam Rodden, Craig Smith and Tom Reynolds.