Home league match played on 02 November 2008.
Kicked off at 10:15 AM

A top of the table clash saw Gresham's take on Felixstowe Wanderers in the knowledge that at least one side would lose their 100% start to the season. In front of a bumper crowd (there is obviously not a lot to do in Felixstowe on a Sunday morning) both sides were up for it, which made for an interesting morning.
The rain had made the pitch very heavy and many were surprised that the game was played at all. The ref, who was the main feature of the game, gave the "thumbs up" after a lengthy pitch examination.
After all the match balls, studs, necklaces, kit, goals, net, corner flags, lines had been checked and re checked by the match official and the linesman given a long briefing on how to play the game, the match got under way.
Neither side created much in the opening exchanges, but a long ball played over our centre pairing of Kevin and Justin caught them cold and the attacker was clean through on goal. Ashley did well to narrow the angle, but the ball was rolled into the empty net avoiding the despairing lunge of Phil.
The goal actually helped Gresham's and it seemed to bring them to life. Good work from Farris and Spurling up front, almost drew them level as the whole team seemed to creak into 2nd, 3rd and then 4th gear.  Greshams were carving out some good chances, but that final ball still alluded them.
The linesman did have to call the ref over mid way through the 1st half to speak to him about some unpleasant language he was receiving, to which the ref seemed oblivious.
Felixstowe were still playing some nice tidy football and looked a threat when they played the ball out wide, but didn't really look like scoring. However, all this changed thanks to some poor refereeing. Another long ball caught out the defence, but with Kevin back tracking and marking the attacker there seemed minimal danger. He then knocked the ball past Kevin and ran straight into the back of him. The linesman (who was up with play, due to his pace and stamina) then signalled for a free kick to Greshams as it was clearly a foul to them.  The ref had other ideas, which was strange as he was at least 25 yards behind play and no member of the opposition appealed for a penalty. The ref then refused to speak to the linesman to gain his opinion.
Kevin was booked for his frustration of the penalty being awarded and the penalty was scored.
The game then seemed to come to life, mainly due to the bizarre decisions given by the ref. At one stage with the game in full flow, he stopped it to challenge two small children playing with the spare match ball. (To be honest, I think the two lads were lucky to get away with just a telling off and not a booking)
Just before half time, the pressure from Gresham's paid off. A long "up and under" from Luke was flicked in by Justin for his first goal of the season.
Half Time 1-2
The second half followed the 1st half. Gresham's started poorly and quickly found themselves 3-1 down. Another hopeful punt down the pitch should have been collected by Ash in goal, but the ball rolled through his legs and the Felixstowe player has the easy job of tapping it home.
Felixstowe then had a few chances. They hit the post and Ash made a few good saves. But Gresham's slowly got back into the game and started to get their passing together. Ali then scored a great individual goal. Picking the ball up just inside the Felixstowe half he strode towards goal before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner. Gresham's were well on top and there appeared to be only one winner now.
Then the referee turned the match in Felixstowe's favour. A lot of unnecessary language had been coming from the Felixstowe supporters all match and after a smart save from Ash, more followed. Ashley told them to pipe down and a bit of banter followed. The ref on the other hand saw this as foul and abusive language and proceed to send Ash off to the utter shock of 22 players, subs and 30 + supporters. When Neil questioned the ref why he was sending Ash off, when he had left the abuse he had received in the 1st half as linesman unpunished, the ref added that he had spoken to them and that matter was closed. Neil was then booked for "having a bad attitude towards the official".
The game was effectively over and then every decision seemed to go against Gresham's. As Gresham's pushed forward they left themselves open at the back and another long punt found the Felixstowe striker in space to control the ball and prod it past Kevin in goal.
A fine save from Kevin and a brilliant last ditch block from Darryn kept Felixstowe at bay, until the last 10 minutes when the full back was allowed to run unchallenged into the box and rounded Kevin to make the score 5-2. In the final minutes the ref then instructed one of the Felixstowe players to be subbed before he had to send him off, which seemed  a little harsh to Gresham's, who had seen no such offer given to them at any point in the game.
To give Gresham's credit they kept trying to the end, but against 12 (sorry 11) men they really stood no chance.
What should have been a great football game between two very good sides, was somewhat spoilt by the ref. The only positive was that there was a few neutral people watching, who have already contacted Gresham's, who are prepared to help them with their appeal against the strange sending off of Ash.
Well done to Felixstowe on their win.

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