Ten-man Teversal clung on to top spot at the start of their maiden season in the East Midlands Counties League after a match littered with controversy and frusration at Barrow Town.
Teversal were held to a 1-1 draw by the Leicestershire strugglers, who have yet to win this term. But they left Riverside Park relieved because they had to play fully 65 minutes a man short after the disputed sending-off of James McCann.
All McCann did was take protective action, with his arms down, when a thunderous shot from 12 yards smashed against him. But the referee deemed that he had deliberately handled and not only awarded Barrow a penalty but also showed the Teversal man a red card.
Ben Law stepped up to clinically finish the spot-kick, sending ‘keeper Warren Squires the wrong way, and the hosts had cancelled out Teversal’s opening goal, which had come just moments earlier in the 33rd minute.
This goal also had an element of the bizarre to it. Blake Vincent delivered a free-kick into the box that ‘keeper Jake Hilton tried to punch a clear, only for the ball to strike one of his own defenders and drop to Dave Cockerill, who had a simple task to knock it home from three yards.
The first half-hour had been a scrappy, unbalanced affair, with unforced errors, as both sides gave away possession far too easily. After the goals, the match turned into a farce, with a stop-go pattern of play that made for dull entertainment.
With the extra man, Barrow saw more of the ball, but they failed to force Squires into a single save of note. Instead the biggest talking points were three refereeing decisions relating to two more penalty shouts and a disallowed goal.
The ref correctly waved play on when a shot by Cockerill was accidentally handled by a home defender, but he then denied Barrow what looked to be a clear penalty when Sam Beaver was tugged by Teversal substitute Brett Watson.
The controversy continued ten minutes from time when another visiting sub, Josh Radford, thought he’d scored a dramatic winner after a clash with ‘keeper Hilton, but it was ruled out for handball.
TEVERSAL LINE-UP -- Squires/ Bacon, Vincent (Watson 55), Lavelle, Laister, Sargent, McCann, Wilkinson, Fletcher (Radford 62), Cockerill, Bamford. Subs not used: Newton, Griffiths, Tighe.