Rainworth Miners Welfare slipped to a 4-1 defeat at Athersley Recreation on Saturday in the Toolstations NCEL Premier Division.
The game hinged on two refereeing decisions within the space of five minutes in the second half, both similar yet with different outcomes.
After a goalless and largely uneventful first half, the home side were awarded a penalty when Matt Plant tackled Joe Thornton in the area.
It looked from the visitors point of view that he had got the ball but the referee pointed to the spot and brandished a red card to Plant.
Thornton made no mistake from the resulting spot kick and gave Rainworth a mountain to climb and without a physical presence at the back.
The visitors battled on and on 65 minutes had a glorious chance to pull level when Morris was brought down from behind the keeper.
The referee awarded a penalty but to Rainworth’s amazement he kept his cards in his pocket. To add to their frustrations, Morris saw his penalty saved and deflected to safety.
Still Rainworth pressed and both Morris and Matt Sykes had efforts blocked by the home side. Shortly after this Athersley took advantage as ten-man Rainworth began to tire and two goals in quick succession by Danny Cawley and Thornton effectively put the game out of reach.
There was still time for Connor Smythe to pull one back for Rainworth with a far post header in the 83rd-minute. It was Athersley who completed the scoring when Thornton completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute with an assured finish into the top corner.
In the final minute of the game Rainworth almost got a second when Sykes’s effort was parried by the keeper and Morris’s follow up hit the post.
RAINWORTH: Leigh; Edridge; Smythe; Barnett (Dockwray); Plant; Hanson; York (Clarke); Thompson; Morris; Theakstone (Brewin); Sykes. Sub not used: C. Widdowson.