Home cup match played on 21 November 2010.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM



MARK Baker scored a last-gasp own goal and then received his marching orders as Frolesworth United suffered an agonising defeat at the hands of Premier League strugglers Sporting Highcross at the Warren on Sunday morning.


The Rabbits skipper sliced through his own net deep into stoppage time and was then immediately dismissed for his second bookable offence by referee Mike Kneafsey, who had moments earlier completely lost control of the match having failed to punish a headbutt from an opposing player and then wrongly awarding the visitors a throw-in.


The game seemed to be heading harmlessly to a close until Jack Rudman was on the receiving end of a headbutt during a melee, which involved over 15 players and the visitors then undeservedly stole all three points in contentious circumstances.


The result leaves the Clarets in second place in the Arthur Moore Cup Group C, but they must rely on bottom-placed AFC Hurricanes to beat Premier Division Magna 73 Rangers to progress to the Quarter-final.


Assistant manager Jordan Halford once again seized the reins in the absence of Ben Harris, but he had just 12 available players to choose from for United’s first game at the newly refurbished Hall Park.


Matt Pell was handed his first start since the 5-2 drubbing of White Lion last month and he would go on to vindicate his assistant manager’s faith, while Mark James moved across to left-back.


Joe Cook was employed alongside Joe Swanwick in the holding role in the absence of club captain Craig Rowbottom, who was, ‘taking the club loco down in Brazil.’ Rudman lined up on the left and the returning Miles Splevings on the right, as Jake Pantony fed off strike partner Luke Evans.


But United would again make lives hard for themselves as they conceded their third penalty in as many games, James this time the culprit. He lost the flight of a looping cross in the air and could only haul down his opposite number as the Rabbits once again conceded the opening goal for a staggering eighth time this season.


Matters were to get worse in the 20th minute too, as stalwart defender Jack Boulton was forced to be withdrawn through injury and Martin Finnigan took to the field with James moving inside.


But accustomed to chasing games, the Country Boys again sprung quickly on the counter attack and Cook was unlucky not to draw his side level. He combined nicely with Pantony on the right-hand side, but could only lash his effort the wrong side of the upright.


He would be denied by the goalkeeper though moments later as his low effort was turned round the near post, before Pantony illustrated his frustrations by kicking the corner flag pole after a poor delivery.


He would soon turn his misery into delight, however, after he hauled Frolesworth level just after the hour mark. Pantony, eternally effervescent in United’s midfield was keen to add more goals to his tally this campaign and he has been true to his word so far, as this was incredibly his eight goal of the season.


The Rabbits top scorer caught the opposing goalkeeper in possession, before effortlessly tapping into an empty net. The equaliser was richly deserved and seemed to give the hosts a huge lift, and they were desperately unlucky not to take the lead in the 73rd minute.


Pantony was once again the instigator, this time spraying the ball out to Cook, now employed on the right flank. He controlled the ball with an elegant touch before sending a teasing cross across the face of the goalmouth but the returning Splevings could only thump against the upright with his leg outstretched.


And with the game seemingly drifting to a close, it exploded into life in stoppage time. Rudman and the opposing right-back were involved in a fracas, which spilled out into the technical area, but the referee failed to hand out any punishment to either party.


Kneafsey then over-ruled his assistant on the nearside, who had signaled for a Frolesworth throw-in and the Yellows forced a flurry of corners, the final of which was sliced into his own net by Baker.


A decision, which the referee would later apologise for and United’s protests would also fall on deaf ears as the skipper was then dismissed for a torrent of verbal abuse.


It was certainly rough justice for the Division One strugglers, who after an absence of five games will be keen to return to winning ways in the league, as they travel to Leicester Academicals next week eager to exorcise the demons of last season’s infamous 5-4 defeat.




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