Hinckley AFC’s match against Coventry Copsewood at St John’s Park was abandoned in farce after referee Paul Hands showed four red cards.
With the score at 4-1 to the visitors, Hands showed his third and fourth red cards in the 70th minute of a match where no bad challenges were made.
Lee Thomas saw two yellows and Marcus Jackson was dismissed in an off the ball incident in the first half. After the break, Sam Agar also saw a second booking after his goal was disallowed, before Luke Richards’ moment of madness saw the game come to a premature conclusion.
For what started off as a competitive and entertaining game of football, Carl Abbott made two changes to his Hinckley side that beat Studley on Tuesday. Richards and Alex Penny returned to the side, with Agar and Sean Williams dropping down to the bench.
And just three minutes were on the clock when Hinckley, looking to continue their rampant recent run, took the lead. Ryan Seal timed his run to perfection, latching onto Penny’s through ball and unselfishly squaring for Javia Roberts to tap into the empty net.
At the other end, Ryan Paddock had to prevent Tom Cross being called into action, denying Michael Healy with a fine challenge.
And the game remained a keenly contested spectacle, even though there was little goalmouth action until midway through the half, when Copsewood were awarded a penalty as Craig Civcelis was fouled by Thomas in the box. Former Hinckley man Healy emphatically converted from twelve yards to level the scores.
Then, Lawrence Rawlings’ impressive run down the right ended when Cross beat away his shot, and Connoll Farrell blazed the rebound over at the far post when he should have scored.
The game continued to ebb and flow, and Hinckley nearly took the lead when Seal glanced Lee Butler’s free kick goalwards, but was denied by a fine one handed save by Scott Dutton.
Then came the first of the two red card incidents, on 32 minutes. Thomas’ innocuous foul on Rawlings just over the halfway line saw him receive his second yellow card.
Before the match had re-started, pushing and shoving erupted on the edge of the box, and in the fracas the assistant deemed that Jackson had committed a red card offence and Hinckley were down to nine.
Hinckley were now up against it and Copsewood saw the majority of the ball before half time, nearly taking the lead when Farrell blazed over from the edge of the box.
The second half was always going to be an uphill struggle for Hinckley, and for long periods they were camped in their own half. Ryan Harkin pulled a shot across goal, before the same player forced a good save from Cross.
Hinckley couldn’t hold out for long though. From the resulting corner, Civcelis rose highest to nod a corner beyond Cross to give his side the lead.
And two goals in three minutes then took the game away from Hinckley. First, Harkin was allowed the space to turn on the edge of the box and fire home, before Kyle Barnett converted a knock down to make it 4-1.
Hinckley, though, continued to battle and thought they had given themselves hope with twenty minutes to go. Agar took advantage of Dutton’s lapse in concentration, and after the ‘keeper lost control of the ball Agar took it past him and tapped into the empty net.
The referee and his assistant, though, thought differently and deemed that Agar had taken the ball from Dutton’s hands. He was shown a second yellow card, and Richards then inexplicably thrust his head in the referee’s direction to see the game’s fourth red card and the match was abandoned.
Hinckley: Tom Cross, Marcus Jackson, Lee Thomas, Mitchell Tomlinson, Ryan Paddock, Alex Penny, Lee Butler, Darious Darkin, Ryan Seal, Javia Roberts (Sam Agar 57), Luke Richards. Subs not used: Mike Harvey, Isaac Cooper, Jean Kalenda, Sean Williams
Goal: Ryan Seal (3)
Copsewood: Scott Dutton, George Whitelaw, Danny Fraser, Craig Civcelis, Kyle Barnett, Matty Fowler, Connoll Farrell, Liam Cairns, Ryan Harkin, Michael Healy, Lawrence Rawlings. Substitutes: Adam Civcelis, Stuart Adamson
Goals: Michael Healy (21 pen), Craig Civcelis (57), Ryan Harkin (62), Kyle Barnett (65)