A match descended into one of the worst scenes an experienced referee said he’d ever witnessed when a player was left reeling after being struck by a linesman’s flag.
Players from Redbridge Jewish Care and Athletic Bilbaum were involved in an ugly melee after midfielder Scott Oldstein was left with a wound beneath his eye.
Sparks flew shortly after Bilbaum full-back James Mandell was taken off the pitch and asked to run the line. Referee Robert Benardout did not see the incident, but Oldstein claims that Mandell struck him. The match was then halted for several minutes as players from both piled in and Mr Benardout asked Mandell to leave the pitch.
Oldstein recalled the incident, saying: "There was a break in play and he walked over to me and swung his flag in my face, catching me just below my right eye. The impact caused me to fall over, but I was more surprised that hurt. I got back on to my feet as quickly as possible. I’m shocked something like this can happen in Jewish football."
Both managers insist that they left the ground at Fairlop Oak on good terms. RJC Jon Jacobs said: "Order was restored with the very calm management of Bilbaum and Redbridge.
"Bilbaum are a good club and they don’t need an idiot to lose all of their integrity. I am sure they will deal with it internally."
We understand that RJC have received an apology from Bilbaum. Joint-manager Mark Pasha said: "It was all sorted out at the end of the game and Jon and I shook hands. The player knows what he did and we’ve dealt with it internally."
Mr Benardout says the teams "behaved impeccably" after the melee. "It was a textbook game of football, with no cautions and there had been no simmering animosity."
Attempts to contact Mr Mandell through the club were rebuffed.