Whitchurch Utd (3 - 1 ) Winchester City
Winchester City expected a hard top of the the table match at Whitchurch United on Saturday 31st January 2015 and it proved to be the case. The game was littered with yellow cards plus four sendings offs!
Having said that City did not help their cause, we played some delightful football but on a pudding of a pitch which did not help our passing game, we played three at the back which left us vulnerable and we lost our discipline.
City had the majority of the play and it was about a quarter of an hour before Whitchurch crossed the half-way line with any purpose.
City could have taken the lead in the first few minutes when Danilo Cadete whipped in a cross which the 'keeper fumbled but no-one was backing up and the loose ball was eventually cleared. A run on the opposite flank by Charlie Smeeton saw his cross hammered in by Zac Glasspool but his his shot forced the 'keeper into a good one-handed save.
Up until this point in the game there only looked to be one winner, Winchester City, then an ill-tempered incident at the dugout turned the mood of the match. City's Micky Hubbard and Whitchurch's Jack McCarthy clashed in front of the box and both hit the ground. City's Assistant Manager John McFarlane went to assist both players up and to stop any further 'handbags'. The Assistant Referee took exception to this and called the Referee over. After a lengthy discussion McFarlane was shown the red card, both players were booked. The whole incident took over 5 minutes to be resolved.
Whitchurch mounted their first real attack and City failed to get the cover on and as a result Ryan Lambert hit the post with only 'keeper Gareth Barfoot to beat.
City were soon back on the attack and Warren Bentley had a shot saved by the 'keeper's feet.
Again City were caught on the rebound and Whitchurch opened the scoring in the 19th minute when
Danny Phillips found himself unmarked at the far post and he side footed home from close range.
Still City piled on the pressure and Bentley managed to find a space in a packed penalty area his goal-bound shot hit a leg but fortunately rebounded to Jaimie Thoroughgood who tucked it away for the equaliser (36th minute).
It seemed as if City were ahead a few minutes later but what looked like a perfectly good goal, initially given by the Referee, was ruled out by the Assistant Referee and she awarded a goal kick. It can only be concluded that the City cross went over the goal line and came back in again before being turned into the net.
The first half surprises were not over, however and in the 41st minute Whitchurch's McCarthy was given a second yellow card for kicking the ball away and the subsequent red card took him out of the game.
Winchester's one-man advantage was cancelled early in the second half when Smeeton was straight red-carded (51st minute) for the use of the elbow as he rose to nod a ball into the box. He appeared not to have notice the close proximity of a defender behind him when he jumped.
Back on even terms as far as numbers were concerned, Whitchurch now took the game to City. Matt Austin chipped Barfoot who was too far off his line but luckily for City the ball hit the bar.
Another incident on the bench again unsettled City when their other Assistant Manager, Glenn Burnett, also received his marching orders for allegedly uncomplimentary remarks he made about the Assistant Referee's performance.
City had another chance to get back in the game when Hubbard broke through but his shot was easily saved. Their last chance fell to Dominic Cope who's diving header went just wide.
Whitchurch took advantage of City being too far up the pitch as they sought the winner and exploited the gaps at the back to score through Tom Lockyer (85th) and Austin (90th) to split the title chase wide open again.
City: Gareth Barfoot, Adam Tomasso, Dominic Cope, Micy Hubbard, Jaimie Thoroughgood, Charlie Smeeton, Danilo Cadete, Chris Mason, Zack Glasspool, Warren Bentley, Adam Roberts, Luke Dempsey, Daryll Phillips, Callum Casson, Laim Robinson and Ryan Holloway.