Kimberley Miners Welfare boss Ian Deakin says he was left baffled and bemused by the referee’s decision to abandon Wednesday night’s match at home to Blaby & Whetstone.
The visitors were 2-0 up with an hour played when the referee decided to send Deakin from the technical area for dissent.
However, as Deakin made his way along the touchline towards the dressing rooms, the referee opted to call a permanent halt to proceedings.
Deakin said: “I’ve thought really hard about it all and I honestly can’t understand first of all why I was sent off, then why he abandoned the match.
“I’ve got a bit carried away in the past but this was the first time I’d said anything and even then it wasn’t directed at anyone.
“We’d had a player deservedly sent off in the first-half and I had no issue with that. But the incident that led to me being ordered from the pitch was when our player Tom Marshall was hacked down by a horrendous two-footed challenge and obviously we were upset by it.
“I asked the assistant if he’d seen it but he said he hadn’t because it was ‘too dark’, and when I asked the ref for an explanation he sent me off.
“I’d cussed to myself about it but not directly at anyone. When I asked the ref later he said it was my tone that got me sent off.”
As for the match being abandoned, Deakin was even more bemused.
He said: “I refused to go initially because I wanted an explanation, plus I said to the ref that I couldn’t jump over the railings behind the dugout due to my snapped achilles which I’m only just recovering from.
“He said if I didn’t go he’d abandon the match, which in itself was strange, but I began to walk away and not 15 seconds later, with everyone I saw asking why I’d been sent off, he just blew the whistle and abandoned it.
“There was about a minute between him asking me to go and him abandoning the game.
“It was utterly bizarre. Everyone in the ground was baffled and could see the events were ridiculous.
“The referee’s assessor spent an hour in the room with the officials afterwards and when I asked the assessor about it he had no answer.
“I’d had a good chat with the ref before the game and he seemed a good guy and it was all very amicable. I’d heard far worse language coming from the Blaby bench, directed straight at the officials, but nothing happened, although I’ve no personal gripe with Blaby at all as even they were confused in the end.
“I said to the ref I’d have a chat with him afterwards and he asked me if that was a threat!”
Deakin said the incident has left a bitter taste in the mouth and led him to question the standard of refereeing at grassroots levels.
He said: “These guys are supposed to be being fast-tracked up through the leagues but it’s like they have a rulebook and stick to it totally by the letter, when common sense needs to apply sometimes.
“Refs need respect - I’ve been sent off a few times as a player but they do a tough job. However, when things like this happen you can’t help but question things, and I honestly think we need some kind of independent regulator, not the FA, to oversee things and teach some officials to manage things better.
“This ruined a perfectly good game and I’d have reacted exactly the same whether we’d been winning or losing.
“I was frustrated at my team so I’d been a bit sweary at times but absolutely nothing was aimed at the officials.
“I’ve been playing 15 years and in the game much longer than that and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
No statement had been issued by either Kimberley Miners Welfare or the East Midlands Counties League regarding the incident at the time of going to press, with Welfare wishing to await the referee’s report before commenting.