Deeping Rangers’ current run of mixed results in the UCL Premier Division continued with a 1-0 defeat at Eynesbury Rovers.
Tuncay Korkmaz’s side travelled to the Alfred Hall Memorial Ground for their first League fixture at Rovers, but unfortunately the main talking point of the game was the refereeing of Ali Shaaban who booked eight players and showed two red cards.
Rovers started with the wind at their backs and quickly applied pressure, with Jordan Nicholson getting to the goal line and pulling a back that was narrowly missed by Robert Duckett.
On eight minutes, referee Shaaban yellow-carded Deeping’s David Burton-Jones for an innocuous challenge that set the standard for the rest of the game at a time when the visitors were starting to find their rhythm.
Mohammed Hamid won possession and his through-ball reached Jezz Goldson-Williams who lifted the ball over home keeper Jamie Chamberlain but also the crossbar.
Rovers full back Nathan Field then clattered Goldson-Williams and the referee played the advantage when Field repeated the dosage to Goldson-Williams, with both challenges being worse than the one Burton-Jones was booked for.
Meanwhile, a swift Rangers break involving Adam Scotcher and Goldson-Williams saw the former drive a shot just too high.
Deeping started the second half brightly with Ben Lewis, Charlie Coulson and Dan Flack involved in a move which ended with Flack crossing to Scotcher who couldn’t quite summon the strength to touch it home.
The home side were reduced to ten men on 56 minutes when skipper Tom Coles collected a second yellow card and it became ten versus ten 12 minutes later when Scotcher collected two yellows within two minutes.
Deeping should have had a penalty when Goldson-Williams was fouled by Dan Woodhead in the penalty box but instead the Rangers striker was booked for diving.
Rangers substitute Matt Carter then sent in a good cross that had home defender Woodhead at full stretch to head clear as Deeping’s Jordan Avis approached.
But the deadlock was finally broken with seven minutes left when Lee Bassett broke down the left before his pullback found Steve Smith in space to slide the ball home.
Eynesbury almost doubled their tally when Bassett capitalised on a Rangers mistake but his cross was well defended by Spencer Tinkler.
With the game into the final throes, Rangers pressed for the equaliser and Avis pulled the ball back for Burton-Jones, only to see his header tipped over by the retreating Chamberlain who saved again from Tinkler after heading a corner on goal.
After the game, Korkmaz said: ““It was always going to be a game where there wouldn’t be more than one goal between the sides.
“But it was spoilt by the worst refereeing performance I’ve ever seen where nobody knew what was going on.
“Both sides had given up playing football and we were all resigned to the fact that the game would be spoilt by the officials.
“Credit to Bassett for a moment of quality but it was a miserable football match and if I see the same referee officiating any of our games, I’ll just go to the stand because it was embarrassing for everybody involved in the game.”