Controversial red card leads to another defeat for struggling Ollerton
Worried Ollerton Town’s troubles near the foot of the table deepened when a red card led to a 1-0 defeat away to fellow strugglers, Hall Road Rangers.
Ollerton travelled to East Yorkshire hoping to end a run without a win since the 5-0 bashing of Brigg Town in October.
But Joel Evans’s dismissal, soon followed by Charlie Birley’s 77th minute goal, condemned them to another loss and leave them third from bottom in the Northern Counties East League’s First Division table.
The tricky surface of the Haworth Park pitch made life difficult for both sides, and for much of the contest, they cancelled each other out.
But the game turned when Ollerton were reduced to ten men for the final 15 minutes as substitute Evans was controversially sent off shortly after going on as a substitute.
He was initially booked for a challenge that was missed by the referee but spotted by one of his assistants. And then, as everyone waited for the free-kick, the assistant flagged again, leading to a chat with the ref, who brandished a red card, much to the confusion of all.
Hall Road took full advantage and netted their winner only moments later when Birley was on hand to fire home from close range after a goalmouth scramble.
The lead could even have been doubled in the 80th minute when Birley’s shot was well saved by Ollerton ‘keeper Levi Owen.
Karl Fitzgerald also whistled a free-kick just wide of Owen’s post before another effort bounced off the bar.
With the clock running down, Ollerton threw everything and everyone, including Owen, who went up for a late corner, at the hosts in search of an equaliser. But they would have been caught on the break without a terrific, last-ditch challenge from Sean Dickinson.
Earlier on in the game, Hall Road's Liam Taylor had been the busier of the two ‘keepers, and twice he had to react quickly as, first, Ben Partridge and, then, Aaron Sennett-Neilson threatened.
Dickinson also got on the end of a headed clearance, but sent his shot well over the bar, and it was the 40th minute before Owen was called into serious action.
Ollerton responded with a left-footed strike from Sennett-Neilson that was well saved, but Hall Road started the second half nicely and looked dangerous from free-kicks in and around the area.
There’s little doubt, though, that the match looked to be heading for a goalless draw until the sending-off.
Next up for Ollerton, this coming Saturday, are mid-table Hallam, who pay a visit to Walesby Lane for a 3 pm kick-off.