Potton’s unbeaten UCL Division One run came to an end due to poor defending and poor refereeing decisions in a 5-4 defeat at Raunds Town on Tuesday.
Fair play to Raunds, they kept playing to the final whistle, but if Potton had been at full strength for the whole game a draw would have been a fair result.
In a match that was never really dirty the referee showed two red and three yellow cards to Potton players and just one yellow to Raunds.
It is difficult to condone players who are booked or sent off but when you receive little protection from the match official and the majority of close decisions go against you it is easy to understand the players’ frustrations.
Whilst losing three points is disappointing, it is difficult to accept that because of the two red cards Kiely and Faulkner are likely to be suspended for three important matches.
The first few minutes were frantic from both sides but in the ninth minute new signing Jack Chandler played the ball through to Gary Ansell-Carter who squared it for Kenny Smith to score from close range.
Ashley Yeomans then played the ball through for Ansell-Carter to shoot over the keeper but just wide of the post. Raunds forced a couple of corners and from the second Glen Turner was unmarked to head home in the 27th minute. A Raunds free kick from Josh Davies was just wide of the post. Chandler had a header across the goal and a free kick from Calum Forster was deflected wide.
In the 45th minute Forster’s long free kick found Ansell-Carter who put the ball back across the goal for Steve Muggeridge to score. A minute later from the Raunds kick off the ball fell to Smith who from 35 yards out saw his shot go over the keeper and into the net to give Potton a 3-1 half time lead.
Early in the second half Joe Aris saw his shot blocked and at the other end Nick Harrison saw his shot go over. From another corner in the 61st minute Dave Townsend headed home unmarked. George Kiely came on as substitute and with his first touch put just wide of the goal.
In the 64th minute Townsend was allowed to go through unchallenged and his shot gave Craig Lewis no chance. Kiely saw his effort go just over the bar as did a free kick from Forster.
Kiely received an elbow in the face, which the officials did not see, and retaliated by kicking out and was shown a red card.
In the 75th minute some poor defending allowed the ball to go to Karl King whose fierce shot from a narrow angle gave Raunds the lead for the first time.
Potton fought back and Yeomans saw his shot saved and Ansell-Carter just failed to get to the rebound. In the 84th minute a poor back pass was intercepted by Ansell-Carter who slotted in the back of the net to equalise. King replied with a shot that went over the bar.
In the closing minutes the referee missed a foul on a Potton player but when the Raunds player was tripped on the edge of the area he immediately awarded a penalty to Raunds.
Shaun Faulkner must have said something to the referee and was also shown a red card, so Potton were down to nine men. Justice was done when King’s spot kick was saved by the legs of Lewis. When the ball rebounded into play Raunds had the ball in the net but was ruled offside.
However in the fourth minute of added time a centre was headed home by Gavin Wills to give Raunds victory.
It is now time for the players to keep a calm head and win on Saturday at home to Crawley Green in the Senior Trophy. Then it’s on to Stotfold on Tuesday in the North Beds Charity Cup.
Potton United: Craig Lewis, Calum Forster, Ashley Yeomans, Shaun Faulkner, Luke Harradine, Chris Reeves, Steve Muggeridge, Joe Aris (Stuart Gillies), Gary Ansell-Carter, Kenny Smith (George Kiely), Jack Chandler