EASTWOOD had to endure a poor refereeing display as Hinckley United took the points at Coronation Park on Saturday.
Blue Square Bet North
EASTWOOD TOWN 0
HINCKLEY UNITED 3
Andre Grey 23
Lloyd Kerry 51
Sam Belcher 72pen
by Andy Cope
The air of optimism that surrounded Coronation Park following the Badgers’ surprise 2-1 victory at Guiseley was quickly vanquished by this defeat.
However the game will be remembered for several big decisions that went against the Badgers, which ultimately lead to the officials being detained in the changing room area until 5.45pm by the match assessor.
Having signed three new players to cover injuries and suspensions, Bradley Munn was the only new player to make the starting line-up.
Former Gainsborough winger Craig Nelthorpe and striker Craig Davies had to settle for a place on the bench.
The Badgers started brightly and Paul Riley was involved at both ends. First, he lofted a dangerous free-kick into the stands without troubling Dan Haystead in the Hinckley goal and then blocked to prevent United’s leading scorerAndre Grey from adding to his tally.
Jevaise Christie was unlucky not to profit when Haystead and former Eastwood loanee Connor Brown dallied, but the keeper recovered just in time. In the next attack Christie’s fierce drive was turned around the post for a corner.
But that was as good as it got for the Badgers as Referee Matthew Bristow took centre stage.
Hinckley took the lead in the 23rd minute with a swift attack, but Grey clearly controlled a cross field ball with his outstretched arm before running through and scoring. However the referee and his assistant who were behind the action, waved play on and awarded the goal.
Eastwood almost hit back straight away when Francis Green did well to get down the line and his cross was met by Christie but he steered the ball the wrong side of the post.
Mr Bristow further infuriated the home crowd and players by denying the Badgers a penalty just before half-time.
Haystead spilled Riley’s cross and as striker Christie went to tap in the rebound, defender Paul Lister bundled him over, however the official saw nothing wrong and waved play on.
Lister wasted a good chance after latching onto a loose ball into the Badgers box following a corner and midfielder Sam Belcher fired wide when well positioned.
In return, Green had a shot from the edge of the box as half time approached.
What the Badgers needed was an instant response in the second-half but it was Hinckley that doubled their lead as Lloyd Kerry hit a sweet shot from outside the box that flew past Sam Andrew into the net.
Substitute Gregg Simmons did well to get down the line and his pull back saw Dudley block Green’s goal bound shot.
Simmons then had his best chance to score from a corner but fired too close to the keeper.
Controversy again surrounded Hinckley’s final goal of the game.
Eastwood defender Gavin Caines appeared to be fouled going for a cross, however the referee, who was again hopelessly behind play, saw it differently, awarding Hinckley a penalty. Sam Belcher confidently converted from the spot.
With Eastwood head’s visibly dropping, the Knitters spurned several good chances to increase the scoreline.
Andrew pulled off a great save to deny Kerry, and Mitch Hanson did well to block Grey’s follow up shot.
The final action saw Kerry skew the ball past an unguarded goal for what would have been rough justice on the Badgers.
Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Mitch Hanson 3 Paul Riley 4 Danny Elliott 5 Gavin Caines 6 David Haggerty 7 Bradley Munn (Gregg Simmons 45) 8 Alex Troke (Craig Nelthorpe 60) 9 Jevaise Christie (Craig Davies 75) 10 Francis Green 11 Sam Benjamin Subs not used: Ashley Noble, Kallum Keane Att: 284 Ref: Matthew Bristow