Biggleswade Town suffered a heartbreaking late defeat at Southern League giants Hereford on Saturday.
This was one of those matches where opinions as to what the result should have been would vary depending on which side you were supporting, writes David Whiteman.
Hereford supporters would argue that they produced the majority of the attacking threat whereas the Waders would say that defending is an important part of the game and they have one of the best defences in the league. What cannot be disputed is that the result ultimately hinged on three crucial decisions by the referee, each of which proved more significant than the previous one.
In front of 2,358 supporters from Hereford and 20 who had made the seven hour round trip from Biggleswade, it was the Waders who made the more composed start of the two teams but, for 30 minutes, neither side had an attempt on goal.
Connor Hall’s header was the first for the Waders on 31 minutes, followed by attempts by Eliot Richards, Dara O’Shea and James Bowen for Hereford, the first two being just off target and the third producing the first save of the afternoon by Liam Gooch.
On 41 minutes, Hereford were awarded a penalty when Gavin Hoyte was adjudged to have handled the ball as he slipped in the area trying to block a cross. However, no damage was done as Gooch dived to his right and saved the kick from Lance Smith. Gooch made two more fine saves from efforts by Mike Symons and O’Shea before, on 60 minutes, a shot from Liam Brooks was saved by Martin Horsell.
The second crucial decision by the referee came on 67 minutes when Hall was sent off for an elbow. Whilst there was little argument about the decision, the effect was immediate and the Waders found themselves under constant pressure from Hereford for the remainder of the match. Gooch and Hoyte were immense during this period but every Biggleswade player can be proud of their efforts.
When Gooch made another fine save to tip O’Shea’s shot over the bar in the third of four added minutes, the Waders looked to have secured a point but, in the final minute, Keyon Reffell bundled the ball home in a scramble. The Waders players and management were adamant that Reffell had used his arm to score but the goal stood.
Waders return to action at Farnborough on Saturday.