Brantham boss seethes as bans hit defence

Brantham Athletic boss Tony Hall is still fuming at the refereeing decisions which has left him with three of his back four suspended tomorrow.

The rock-bottom Ridgeons League Premier Division side host fifth-place Kirkly & Pakefield without first choice centre-backs Jack Sibbons and Adam Bloss, as well as left-back Andy French, after all three were sent off at Wroxham three weeks ago.

Unsurprisingly, referee Matthew Hopton was the main talking point at the end of that event-filled match in Norfolk after he also dismissed Gavin Lemmon for the Yachtsmen, dished out three further bookings to the hosts and awarded two penalties unrelated to all of the aforementioned.

“It wasn’t even a dirty game,” said Hall, whose side did superbly to rescue a late 2-2 draw against the high-flying Yachtsmen amongst all of the chaos.

“I personally thought the referee just lost control and I expect a little bit more from an official at this level of the game to be honest.

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“I accept that two of our three red cards were correct. Andy French was a definite professional foul, while Jack Sibbons was probably a second yellow, but Adam Bloss’ challenge was no more than a booking.

“Wroxham weren’t happy either, they’ve had a man sent off and three bookings, and it turns out that we’ve both scored the referee 30 out of 100 in our reports at the end.

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“Both clubs agree yet we’ll be the ones that get hammered with fines while the referee might just get a telling off and be sent straight out for another game.

“It’s a shame because I felt we were just starting to turn the corner but it’s now going to be tough for us against Kirkley.”

Altogether Brantham could be facing fines totalling nearly �500 for their part in the match at Wroxham, Hall has appealed against the ruling that the club’s managers and officials ‘failed to control’ their players although that will be increased if the Suffolk FA decide to dismiss the challenge.

“I’m told we can’t appeal the red card itself without video evidence, but who has video evidence at this level of the game? Why is it that referees are not accountable at this level?”

Brantham secured their second promotion in three seasons last year by finishing third in the Ridgeons League Division One, but they have struggled at Step Five so far and have claimed just 13 points from 20 matches.

“We have found it difficult to adapt to the higher level, but I don’t regret going up last season,” said Hall.

“This is a young side with an average age of around 20 and this experience will make my players better in the long-run.”

– What do you think? Is the level of refereeing below standard in the non-league game or is football in danger of hounding its valuable officials out of the game? E-mail:

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