LUCKLESS Stratford Town saw red after a late and controversial goal sentenced them to a 1-0 Baker Joiner Midland Alliance defeat at title-chasing Westfields on Saturday.
Town, who produced one of their best displays of the season, more than matched the table-toppers and were unfortunate to leave empty-handed after Jamie Cuss fired home an 85th minute winner from a hotly disputed corner.
Keeper Richard Morris was sent off and coach Paul Eden was also ordered to leave the dug-out for speaking out of turn to the referee
Town were still seething at the final whistle after which Michael Hayden and manager Morton Titterton were also red-carded to complete an unhappy afternoon.
The visitors were first to threaten when debutant Chris Lait set up James Travis who fired over but the visitors survived a scare when Morris turned an effort from Cuss onto the bar.
Westfields went close again through Darryl Addis whose low drive was well saved by Morris but Lait almost broke the deadlock five minutes before the break.
The new signing from Coleshill Town beat two defenders on a fine run at the end of which his well struck shot was superly turned over the bar by home keeper Matt Gwynne who followed up with another fine save to deny Hayden before the break.
Town almost went ahead early in the second half when a cross-cum-shot from Cameron Jones totally deceived Gwynne who was relieved to see the ball hit the post and bounce clear.
The visitors continued to look the most likely side to score with Murphy and Lait both going close but, at the other end, Addis saw a fierce shot on the turn flash just wide.
The game then boiled over five minutes from time when Dan Parker was clearly fouled in the area but the referee ignored the appeals for a free kick and awarded Westfields a corner.
The flag kick from Aidan Thomas fell invitingly for the unmarked Cuss to volley home which sparked fury both on and off the pitch.
Town had previously recorded a 2-1 Midland Alliance victory over Boldmere St Michaels at the DCS Stadium on Thursday.
Cear-cut chances were at a premium and a goal-less stalemate looked likely until the game burst into life with three goals in as many minutes in the closing stages.
Town broke the deadlock after 88 minutes when top scorer Chris Murphy grabbed his 15th goal of the season by converting a cross from substitute Dan Kerrigan.
Town’s joy proved short-lived as Boldmere equalised within 60 seconds thanks to a smart volley from skipper Neil Watkins.
But, deep into stoppage time, Town grabbed a last-gasp winner when Mark Faulds powerfully headed home a dangerous cross from Cameron Jones.
Town, who remain tenth in the table, entertain ninth placed Loughborough University this Saturday (3pm) before playing host to lowly Highgate United on Monday (3pm).
MAT Jackson is already looking forward to his
LOXLEY driver Sarah Reader celebrated another podium success
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