North Leigh 3 - 1 Hungerford Town
The excellent win over Sholing on Tuesday, proved only a short respite from our recent disappointing form, for North Leigh once more came out on top and deserved to claim the points, and although we still have a 8 point lead at the top of the table our position has weakened seriously and Thatcham and Bideford now have the chance to catch us by winning their games in hand.
Our injury problems worsened with Matt Day still unfit and Scott Davis withdrawing with a hamstring problem. With Michael Watkins and Stuart Wood injured, Stuart Moore was brought back from Reading to deputize in goal, and things got even worse when Jon Boardman limped off with an injured toe after only 20 minutes, bringing about more changes. Until then we had the edge, Dean Stow twice went close and a shot from Nicholas Ogbanufe was cleared off the line, but it was the home side who took the lead after 37 minutes when John Mills turned a left wing cross past Moore. After 42 minutes, however, Ogbanufe scored from close range and we went it at the interval with the scores level.
5 minutes into the second half, Luke Brewer blocked a shot from Mills, but the rebound fell to Elliott Osbourne-Ricketts, who tapped the ball past Moore, but the controversial moments were yet to come. Tom Franklin blocked Harry Goodger on the edge of the area and got a yellow card, his protestations earning him another yellow card and a sending off. Chris Blackford lined up his free-kick right on the line, but his fierce shot flew over the bar. Referee Mark Mellor apparently decided that things needed leveling up, for Tom Fila was penalized for a challenge on James Organ when it looked as if Organ was to blame. Incredibly the referee produced a red card and Fila was on his way, a decision which brought dismay and disbelief to the Hungerford supporters, even the home fans claiming that the referee had “lost it”
With the chance of equalizing gone, Hungerford did not look like saving the game although another Blackford free-kick hit the bar and flew over before Tom Williams made it 3-1 after 79 minutes to send us home empty handed.