Budleigh sunk after 'sin-binning' that should not have been - in Morrison Bell Cup final
PUBLISHED: 15:19 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:19 30 May 2018
There was high drama at the final of the Morrison Bell Cup at Ottery St Mary on Tuesday night when Budleigh, battling back from 3-0 down, making it 3-2 with 15 minutes to go, were incorrectly reduced to 10 men after a 'sin-binning', writes Steve Birley.
Budleigh, contesting the final with another South West Peninsula League, Eastern Division side, Sidmouth Town, made an awful start and found themselves 3-0 down inside the first six minutes!
It was a sluggish start from the Robins, but Sidmouth Town, under the control of Reserve team management after the departure of Town first team boss Josh Stunell, did make a high tempo start that Budleigh found hard to contain.
There were just two minutes on the clock when a left wing raid from the Vikings led to a Ferenc Bodor strike being deflected past Alan Doble – the ball flying past the glovesman off the head of his player-boss Kevin Hill!
Just two minutes later, and again from a left wing delivery, a Tony Cox free-kick was headed home by Town skipper Jamie Newbury and, straight from the restart, the Budleigh defence opened up and Rob Knight ran through to net and make it 3-0 to Sidmouth Town – all within the first six minutes!
The Robins dug deep and began to find their feet in the contest, which became more of an end-to-end battle as the first half wore on.
Five minutes before the break player-boss Hill so nearly atoned for his earlier own goal by netting at the opposite end, but his header beat Town glovesman Robbie Powell only to rebound off the cross bar and away to safety!
Twelve minutes into the second half Budleigh were ‘back in the game’ as Aaron Denny weaved his way through the Town defence to score a goal which gave the Budleigh faithful real hope that they could mount a comeback.
Four minutes later, Hill was again denied a goal by the depth of the crossbar, but Budleigh were not to be denied and they grabbed a second with 15 minutes remaining when Jordan Harris scored.
The game then took a bizarre twist as the match official sent Budleigh leading scorer Harris to the sin-bin. It was pointed out to the referee that the sin-bin rule did not apply to cup competitions and was only to be used in league matches, but the man in the middle was adamant and heated debate ensued on –and off – the pitch. Eventually a former match official, who was at the game, managed to get the attention of the man in the middle and Harris was summoned back into the contest – albeit not before the clock had ticked down another full five minutes with the Robins playing a man short.
Clearly unsettled by the ‘wrong’ that had been served upon them, and, to give credit where credit is due, down to some disciplined and organised Sidmouth Town defending, there were no further goals at either end and it was the Vikings who lifted the cup, leaving Budleigh to end their season in defeat.