Peterborough League to investigate Parson Drove using four substitutes in Groundhop clash with Oakham United
Oakham United's opening match of the new season is set for a Peterborough League investigation after opponents Parson Drove used four substitutes during the Premier Division clash.
The Rutlanders were on the wrong end of a 3-0 reversal against one of the sides tipped to challenge for the title this season.
However, after bringing Billy Smith on at the interval, Drove also introduced Teddy Haime, Billy Ryan and Connor Young - who was sent off in injury-time - in the final 15 minutes of the contest.
League rules state that only three substitutes are allowed during a Premier Division game and joint Oakham manager Stewart Lambie confirmed that the club are awaiting the verdict of a league investigation into the incident.
The match was the second game of the annual United Counties and Peterborough League Groundhop weekend with Oakham having won on their three previous appearances in the event.
However, they were second best for large parts of the contest against a Drove side packed with players of higher level experience.
Matt Cawthorn headed an early effort over from a dangerous cross from the lively Kieron Hamilton who was a constant threat to the visitors.
It was former Wisbech Town striker Nick Davey who broke the deadlock after 18 minutes when he forcefully shrugged off a challenge before rasping home a fierce strike past Charley Griffen in the Oakham goal.
Oakham felt Davey had been over-excessive in the power he used to create the opening and their protests saw striker Alex Brockbank sin-binned for 10 minutes by referee James Truman.
Drove looked to make the most of the one-man advantage with Hamilton and Danny Emmington both firing shots narrowly over the Oakham crossbar.
Ex-Wisbech winger Hamilton then rattled the upright after his surging run had pierced the Oakham defence before the hosts were awarded a penalty moments after Brockbank's return.
Richard Nelson's acrobatic clearance to deny Cawthorn a header at goal was deemed to be dangerous by referee Truman.
But the prolific Drove hitman must have still been suffering the affects of the challenge as his spot kick cannoned off the post.
Oakham briefly rallied with promising youngster Kieron Burley blasting an effort into the side-netting.
However, the respite on the visiting defence was only brief, as Drove doubled their lead after 34 minutes when Hamilton pounced on a loose ball after some desperate Oakham defending to fire home.
A third goal followed four minutes later for the hosts with Davey adding another clinical finish to put the hosts in total control.
Oakham offered much more resistance after the break, but it was Drove who continued to create the better openings.
Dan Short sent a header over from close range following a corner after Griffen had tipped a speculative shot from Callum Brown away at full stretch.
Drove then thought they had added a fourth goal from an unexpected source when goalkeeper Callum Summers' free-kick sailed over his opposite number.
However, their celebrations were cut shot when referee Truman - after consulting with his two assistants - disallowed the effort after his initial award of an indirect free-kick.
Hamilton hammered another effort into the side-netting of the visitors' net before Oakham enjoyed their best spell of the game in the final throes.
Steve Mastin was denied at close range by Summers with Nelson firing the follow up wide while the marauding Jamie Maxwell brought a routine save from the Parson Drove custodian after an energetic burst forward.
With the minutes ticking down, Young - after coming on as Drove's fourth substitute - was red-carded after a rash two-footed challenge on Lambie to end the game on a low note for the hosts who now face a wait to see if they will be hit by the league with a further punishment.
Drove: Summers, Mockford (Ryan), Emmington, Brown, Short, Ryan, Hamilton, Kitching (Young), Cawthorn (Smith), Davey, Parnell (Haime). Sub not used: Simmons.
Oakham: Griffen, Richmond, Maxwell, Munton, Nelson, North, Burley (Kefford), Hatherhill (Lambie), Brockbank (Cameron), Mastin, Bates.