05:00PM, Thursday 21 October 2021
Judged on their hard work and defensive discipline alone, Derek Sweetman believes Holyport FC deserved to get something from their Combined Counties Premier Division North clash with Wembley at the weekend.
At Vale Farm, Port were beaten 2-1 in a contest that was decided by a couple of debatable penalty decisions.
The home side opened the scoring from the spot in the 32nd minute when Steven Deverall was deemed to have handled the ball.
Dan Wilson restored parity for Port half an hour later but the visitors suffered a late sucker punch when Sam Adetiba slotted home Wembley's winner in the 85th minute.
In the closing minutes, Port felt they had grounds for a spot kick themselves after Jack Alder was wiped out by the hosts’ goalkeeper. Controversially, however, the referee waved away the players’ cries and blew for full-time shortly afterwards, much to boss Sweetman’s frustration and disbelief.
Speaking to the club’s media after the match, he said: “It was definitely a penalty – the goalkeeper took our guy out in the box. Anywhere else on the pitch, that’s a foul, and if it’s a foul in the box, it’s a penalty. It’s not sour grapes, it’s facts. We worked extremely hard, so I thought we deserved something from the game. It was a tale of two halves really. In the first half, I don’t think we were quite at it, but I thought we dominated the second.
Sweetman added: “I don’t think it was a pen to them [in the first half]. Steve was on the floor, spread eagle, and the ball hit him on the chest, it didn’t hit him on the arm. The referee is a lot closer than what we are, so he sees what he sees, and we just have to deal with it. I think in the second half we asked a lot of questions.
“We kept knocking on the door but we just didn’t get that rub of the green. You make your own luck, I know, but it is a bit frustrating when things happen [like they did today].”
The result leaves Sweetman's side bottom of the table with only four points from their opening 10 league matches. Their battle against the drop continues at Windsor this Saturday.
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.