Seagulls pay the penalty
LEWES 2 WESTON-S-MARE 0 - THIS writer has a lot of regard for match officials who can make or ruin a game. They have a thankless job to do in trying circumstances and are often abused by so-called fans who do not fully understand the rules of the game.
THIS writer has a lot of regard for match officials who can make or ruin a game. They have a thankless job to do in trying circumstances and are often abused by so-called fans who do not fully understand the rules of the game.
But I must criticise the three officials in charge of Weston's Blue Square South game at the Dripping Pan.
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Referee Dan Cook awarded two dubious penalties to the home side in the first 20 minutes of the game, crucial to both sides as they attempt to get out of the relegation zone and in the second half, despite being on the spot, he turned down a clear-cut third spot kick to Lewes. As well as that the match assistants stopped promising Weston moves to giving nine off-side decisions. I will agree three or four were spot on, but the rest were dubious to say the least.
Weston gave a debut to loan-signing Richard Evans from Bath City who made some penetrating runs, while the Grubb brothers Dayle and Dean were on the substitutes' bench along with new signing Josh Ford, Jake Harris and Tom Parrinello, just back from a lengthy injury.
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Play was even until the 10th minute when Mr Cook decided that Callum Hart had brought down David Wheeler, even though he cleanly won possession, and Joe Keehan beat Kevin Sawyer from the spot.
Ten minutes later in a tussle for possession with Jean-Michelle Sigerre, the ball reared up and hit Clayton Fortune on the arm and Mr Cook immediately pointed to the penalty spot and again Keehan beat Sawyer. The rule clearly states that if a defender deliberately handles in the penalty area he should be cautioned, but this was not done. If it was accidental hand ball, as was the case, no action should have been taken, but this ruined Weston's chances.
Later in the half, Sawyer made a fine save, turning Wheeler's goal-bound header round his post for a corner, while at the other end, Darren Mullings went close with a shot on the turn.
For the second half, Weston withdrew Jermaine Clark, moving Mullings up to lead the attack with Dayle Grubb coming on in midfield and they came more into the game, despite being held up by offside decisions.
Lewes had strong claims for a penalty turned down when Kane Lowis was floored by Fortune and near the end, Ben Cleverley forced a good save from keeper Rikki Banks with a swerving free kick.
Goals: Lewes, Keenan (10, 20 both penalties).
Shots on target: Lewes 4, Weston 2.
Shots off target: Lewes 4, Weston 2.
Corners: Lewes 3, Weston 4.
Offsides: Lewes 1, Weston 9.
Free kicks conceded: Lewes 17, Weston 15.
Referee: Dan Cook. Given a low mark by the Weston officials.
Bookings: Lewes, Hopkinson. Weston, Evans, Bartlett.
Weston squad: Sawyer, Tom Evans, Hart, Bartlett (Dean Grubb 61), Rand, Fortune, Cleverley, Mullings, Clark (Dayle Grubb 46), Klein-Davis, Richard Evans. Subs (not used): Ford, Parrinello, Harris.
ON Saturday, Weston have their first home game since Boxing Day when they entertain Dorchester Town in another relegation battle.
Weston has now rearranged their outstanding league games postponed due to the recent bad weather. They are away to Bath City on Tuesday, February 2, away to Braintree Town on February 8, home to Hampton and Richmond on February 23, and home to Bromley on Tuesday, March 2.
WESTON striker Marvin Brown, who has had difficulty in holding down a regular place in the squad this season, has left the club by mutual agreement and is believed to have signed for Cornish big-spenders Truro City.
Marvin, who played 122 games for Weston over two periods, scored 46 goals, had a loan spell earlier in the season at Worcester City. All at the club wish him well for the future.