GALLERY: Wisbech Town 0 - 0 Holbeach United - both teams reduced to 10 men in feisty derby
- Credit: Archant
There were no goals but plenty of talking points as Wisbech and Holbeach United squared off in a bad tempered derby clash.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men late on – substitute Tom James was given a straight red for lashing out twice, with Holbeach midfielder Gary King receiving a second yellow for his role in the ensuing chaos.
The first half was high on commitment but low on quality - both sides were restricted to long range efforts, several of which cleared the stadium.
However, on the brink of half time, the Fenmen were inches away from taking the lead. Josh Ford leapt highest to meet Adam Millson’s inswinging corner, but his header missed the target.
The Fenmen started the second half with more purpose and were soon creating chances.
Ford’s free-kick was straight at Holbeach keeper Nick Conroy, then Luke Wilson’s acrobatic effort sailed over the crossbar.
The Fenmen were convinced they should have had a penalty when Millson was brought down in the box, but the referee waived away their protests.
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Millson then forced a flying save from Conroy and Ford, from the edge of the six yard box, struck the outside of the post.
By this stage, Wisbech were in the ascendancy. Tommy Treacher was denied by a brave block from Conroy and Billy Smith’s free-kick was palmed wide of the post.
After struggling to get out of their own half for most of the second half, Holbeach counter attacked and Jamie Clarke’s cross struck Neal Spafford’s hand. When no penalty decision was forthcoming, the Holbeach players were incensed – led by Clarke, they surrounded the referee, berating him for his call.
In injury time, Millson was denied from close range by Conroy.
Then, the red mist descended on James and he lashed out twice at a Holbeach player, catching him in the face (although Wisbech’s players felt he made the most of it).
Players from both sides squared up to each other, with King being singled out by the referee and given his marching orders.
Speaking after the game, Wisbech manager Dick Creasey said: “We shot ourselves in the foot. We had enough chances to win two games, but we didn’t take them.
“A lot of people will talk about the penalty – I thought it was a blatant penalty, but the referee saw it in a different light.
“I think Tom’s (James) is a sending off, but I have no idea how their number 10 (Clarke) stayed on after manhandling the referee following their penalty appeal.
“But this result is our own fault. It’s not been a good Easter for us. We need to dust ourselves down and make sure we are right on Saturday (Wisbech travel to Newport Pagnell Town).”