Saturday sport: Both managers slate inept refereeing display as March get knocked out of the FA Cup

FA Cup Preliminary Round - March Town United 1 Desborough Town 2

Both managers slated referee Richard Pace’s inept performance that overshadowed this money-spinning FA Cup encounter.

With �1,500 up for grabs and a lucrative trip to Lowestoft in the next round so much hinged on the performance of the man in the middle who quite frankly had a shocker.

Ashley Brand’s 36th minute equaliser was wrongly disallowed after the assistant referee had flagged Denny Escorcio offside even though the returning striker was inactive.

Following consultation with his assistant, Pace then gave the goal much to the anger of the Desborough players and officials who surrounded him.

Unbelievably the referee then re-disallowed the goal leaving angry fans and players scratching their heads at the farce that was unfolding in front of them.

Hares’ manager Jamie Weston said: “The goal just summed him up, he was a shambles.

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“There’s a lot about the respect issue at the moment yet he’s crowded by their players and he’s changed his mind and that shouldn’t happen. He’s come away, given the goal and got bullied into changing his mind again.

“He gave me no explanation at half-time. He said ‘thank you’, ‘thank you very much’ and as soon as that happens it causes problems. He lost control of the game.

Even victorious Desborough Town manager Martin McLeod let rip. He said: “He was shocking. He has spoiled what could have been a great game.

“He stopped play, then blew for a goal and then changed his mind. It’s a joke. I understand how March feel but he was awful for both sides throughout.”

Desborough, plying their trade one step higher than March in the Non-League ladder, took the lead after 15 minutes when giant defender Michael Keall powered home a header after being allowed to wander unnoticed into the box.

March, who were the better side in the first period, finally equalised just before the break after Ashley Brand drove home a volley following excellent work from Denny Escorcio. It was the least their efforts deserved. However March conceded a second following more poor marking when Ian Blaikie headed home the 49th-minute winner for the visitors.

March: Brooks, Wheeler, M. Welcher, Day, Norman, Roddis (Richardson, 59), Roe, S. Welcher (Bates, 53), Escorcio, Brand, Rowell (Sutton, 70) Subs not used: Melton and White - Booked: Roddis, M. Welcher

Man of the match: Denny Escorcio - Stood out against the giant centre-halves despite his tiny frame. His bag of tricks and pace left countless players in his wake and set up March’s goal with a fine run and cross.

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