News from the New Stadium

A penalty by Mike Latham after just 10 minutes was enough for hosts Gresford Athletic to take all three points against Campbell Harrison’s Hotspur side who camped in the home half for much of the second period but couldn’t find a way through a resolute home outfit who were without a numbers of regulars suspended due to four players seeing red cards in a midweek fixture against Guilsfield.

However the talking point amongst the visitors was the performance of the referee who were incensed by many bizarre decisions especially the red card give to Hotspur’s Dean Garmey in the dug out just after being taken off as a precautionary measure to avoid a possible second yellow 10 minutes into the second half. The referee had also given many decisions against the holy islanders which seemed dubious to say the least including turning down a stonewall penalty appeal for a foul on Dewi Thomas near the finish, and his performance turned into a farce at the end by awarding two yellows to Tomos Clarke. The Hotspur club are at pains to say it is not sour grapes as the hosts battled hard for their win, but the performance of referee Michael Gray left much to be desired and even Gresford said he was bias against us. What league secretary Chas Rowland made of Gray’s performance is anyone’s guess. Once again it is apparent that the FAW has no option but to promote referees on to the panel who have not properly ‘cut their teeth’ in competitive football.

This coming week end will see Hotspur play host to mid Wales Penrhyncoch and hopefully a return to winning ways and a decent referee (kick off 2.30pm).

Mike Kelly for Hotspur was almost in after two minutes but Gresford keeper Mike Platt was out quickly to block. A nip and tuck passage of play and on 10 minutes Gresford were awarded a penalty for what appeared to be a push in the box!. Mike Latham took the kick and beat Paul Pritchard. Gresford were looking very lively as Hotspur tried to get back into it and Paul Pritchard saved well from Ben Burrows while Kenleigh Owen shot over for Hotspur on 17 minutes. Pritchard made a goal saving block near his post on twenty one minutes while Jake Eyre for Gresford had a ‘snapshot’ go just over the bar. Good passage of play for Hotspur with Dean Garmey passing to Dewi Thomas whose goal bound shot was deflected for a corner. At the other end Pritchard was again in action saving from Latham. At this stage both teams had periods of ascendency and although Hotspur were having more of the possession Gresford were dangerous on the break often causing problems for a defance that was well marshaled by captain Alex Jones. (half time 1 – 0)

Hotspur quick out of the blocks for the second period and they began to press hard to get level. On 57 minutes Dean Garmey who had already been booked was brought off to be substituted by John Littlemore when the bizarre incident occurred. Garmey standing in the dug out was approached by referee Gray who promptly showed him a red card - for what??   

Hotspur at this time were now camped n the Gresford half and Jamie Mc Daid went just wide with a good effort, and Tomos Clarke was inches the wrong side of the upright. Kenleigh Owen a little later shot just inches over the bar and on 80 minutes Dewi Thomas was brought down in the box but inexplicably nothing was given. It seemed as if Hotspur were fated to draw level by continually pushing forward, but on 90 as so often happens, Gresford hit the bar via a break from Jack Chaloner. Hotspur frustrated and in added time down in a corner Tomos Clarke was booked twice in succession and sent off amid more farcical scenes. 

Not Hotspur’s day by any means and not a match referee Gray should be proud of.


Gareth M Davies