JC MSFL PREMIER DIVISION
NORSTAR A 2 FC TEAM A 2
Norstar A recorded their second successive Premier Division draw against FC Team A on Sunday but had to do it the hard way playing the entire second-half with 10 men after Anthony Goodmaker was sent off just before the break.
Norstar were the better team throughout the game and deservedly took the lead midway through the first half when Josh Green was put through and neatly tucked the ball into the bottom corner of the goal from just inside the area.
Josh Pistol doubled the lead a few minutes before half time with a looping header after the Team defence couldn't deal with Danny Bloom's free kick.
Six minutes stoppage time were signalled by the fourth official, due mainly to a Sammy Kalms ankle injury early in the half, and these were to prove fateful for the home side.
A bouncing through ball from Team wasn't dealt with by keeper Ben De La Fuente in the Norstar goal and as he took the catch on the second attempt, his momentum carried him into the arm of Goodmaker and the referee decided he had no choice but to award the penalty and send off the Norstar right-back.
Team scored the penalty and although Norstar reshuffled, the away side were able to capitalise on the uncertainty and score an equaliser just before the break.
Norstar were certainly rattled and some calming words from the management were necessary to ensure the lads knew they were still in the game.
Switching to a 4-4-1, with Green continuing the lone striker role, the chances continued to come for Norstar who rarely looked like they were the team with 10 men.
Norstar had the chance to retake the lead after the referee awarded a penalty for hand ball 15 minutes into the half. The usually reliable Jonny Kay stepped up by was psyched out by the giant frame of the Team keeper with the ball likely to still be travelling.
Team had a spell of pressure with long-throws being constantly thrown into the box but De La Fuente was redeeming himself with a string of saves and catches.
Late on Norstar had a could of chances to score, with the imperious skipper Jeremy Elster going close and substitute Alex Jacobs putting the ball just wide with a header.
A final moment of controversy then took place with the Team striker latching on to a through ball and slotting the ball home whilst a defiant Goodmaker stood on the sidelines with his flag up. The referee seemed to allow the goal before going to consult with his linesman and then awarding the free kick to Norstar.
The Team management weren't happy, Norstar were naturally delighted and knowing Goodie as they do were sure that he'd made the right decision.
The game finished 2-2 - disappointing given Norstar's first half dominance but a result they'd have taken at half time. Both sides are still searching for their first league wins this season but remain unbeaten.
Jonny Breger and Mark Harris registered for FC Team.
FC Team manager Mitch Young told JC Sport: "Firstly the positives; it was a game between two committed sides played in great spirits. We conceded two soft goals and recovered very quickly to bring the game level.
"However, with Norstar going down to 10 men, we should have pushed home the advantage. We dominated the second half as expected and got ourselves in some great positions in the final third, but failed to utilise the opportunities which we have to work on and is a shame.
"Saying that, we feel robbed by the refereen who had a very inconsistent game and his decision-making was off the whole game.
"With five minutes to go we had a goal dissallowed which at first the referee gave but when consulting the Norstar player (linesman), he changed his mind even though his way up with play and could see the whole move. He bottled the decision and I feel very aggrieved.
"Decisions will balance themselves out and credit to Norstar for holding their own with 10 men. We see it as two points dropped and must do better in the final third moving forward if we want to challenge near the top."