A mass brawl brought two red cards in last night’s pre-season game between Holbeach United and Spalding United.
The ‘friendly’ at Carter’s Park turned violent in the first half when Tulips midfielder Nathan Whitehead was dismissed and Tigers defender Stacy Cartwright followed for retaliation.
Spalding boss Dave Frecklington said: “It was a late tackle but nothing really.
“It wasn’t a bad challenge and it didn’t deserve a red card.
“You can’t take aggression out of players in non-League football where we want to see blood and thunder.
“I thought the referee spoiled the game and there were worse tackles after that incident.
“Until the officials are up to standard then we are going to get games which finish 10v10 or 9v9 all the time.
“We’ve got two competitive central midfielders and that’s how I’d like all the team to play.
“Referees need to look at themselves. Are they turning up just to get paid or are they going to let games flow?”
Holbeach manager Tom Roberts added: “The assistant referee was 10 yards away and he gave nothing.
“The tackle was late and very high so by the letter of the law then he’s got to be punished.
“But you should also take into consideration that it was a pre-season friendly and now both teams are going into the season with suspensions.
“Tyler Wright was on the receiving end of the challenge and Stacy was trying to get him away when he was grabbed from behind.”
The only goal came when on-loan Lincoln City winger Andy Wright converted a penalty awarded for Jonny Allen’s push on Jenk Acar.
Spalding’s first pre-season match was also marred by a mass brawl when Matt Varley was sent off at King’s Lynn Town three weeks ago.
Varley was suspended for last night’s game and Frecklington is hopeful Whitehead will not be forced to serve a ban in the opening weeks of the league campaign.
The Tulips are away to league rivals Stamford on Saturday in the Lincolnshire FA Senior Cup semi-final.
The Tigers take on Swaffham Town in the Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round this weekend.