FA Cup exit for Royston in eventful clash with Brightlingsea Regent
- Credit: Archant
Five goals, three red cards and a dismissal from the dugout saw Royston Town exit the FA Cup in the preliminary round to Brightlingsea Regent on Saturday.
In a clash where the referee took centre stage, Crows’ Ryan Wharton and Chris Watters were handed red cards by George Sprague, with Regent’s Phil Kelly also dismissed.
And the subsequent last-minute winner for the visitors from Essex saw Royston boss Steve Castle sent to the stands, incredulous at how the game had panned out.
The first talking point came on 21 minutes. Ryan Wharton made what was deemed a last-man tackle, despite seemingly being covered by full-back Jack Bradshaw, and conceded an obvious penalty.
But the former St Albans City man was extremely unfortunate to suffer a straight red card. The penalty was converted by Ben Newson low to Paul Bastock’s left.
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Steve Castle replaced Dave Theobald with Spyros Mentis at the back. The referee chose to book Mentis for supposedly entering the pitch without his permission.
Robbie Nightingale was replaced by Lewis Endacott as Castle chose to tinker his formation still more.
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The equaliser deservedly came as Kaan Fehmi’s free-kick was flicked home by Jack Bradshaw and the half-time whistle blew.
An early substitution saw Fehmi replaced by Ryan Ingrey six minutes into the second half. Almost immediately from a Crow’s corner, the visitors broke with a route one long ball that attacker Kelly ran on to nod home too easily to retake the lead.
Less than two minutes later and the match was all-square again as a pinpoint cross from Ryan Ingrey found Scott Bridges’ and his soaring header flew past Luke Avenell.
A seemingly good tackle by Watters was penalised and he received a second yellow card and was sent from the pitch reducing the home team to nine men. To probably even it up Brightlingsea’s Kelly saw a straight red card five minutes later for a similarly committed challenge.
With the collective crowd from both clubs mystified by the refereeing, Brightlingsea won the game with a diving, back-post header from Newson from a last minute corner.
Castle’s angry reaction from a game affected by the referee, saw him sent from the dugout to compound a miserable afternoon.