UPDATED: Thurrock's match at Wingate and Finchley abandoned as hosts have FIVE players sent off (From Thurrock Gazette)
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Thurrock's match at Wingate and Finchley abandoned as hosts have FIVE players sent off
A SHOWPIECE football match between Wingate and Finchley and Thurrock was abandoned after the former had five players sent off 30 farcical second-half minutes.
The Ryman Premier League game, which was being played at the Harry Abrahams Stadium in Finchley on Sunday, was called off with five minutes remaining and relegation threatened Thurrock leading 1-0.
It was one of three games selected to promote a special “non-league football against discrimination” weekend organised by the Ryman League and football charity Kick It Out.
But referee Sam Purkiss was left with no choice but to abandon the game, described by Thurrock chairman Tommy South as “a disgrace”. He believes the home side were trying to get the game abandoned.
The league announced on Monday the 1-0 win would stand, meaning Thurrock will not need to replay the game.
The first red card was shown to Wingate's Armet Rifat for a dangerous tackle early in the 52nd minute.
Ten minutes later, former Thurrock player, Osa Obamwonyi, who had been booked for a deliberate handball earlier in the match, was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Danny Green in the box.
Stuart Thurgood, the Fleet skipper, converted from the spot to give his side a priceless lead in the 62nd minute.
The third red was shown to Wingate left-back, Ronayne Marsh-Brown while the fourth, the most ridiculous of the five dismissals, saw Jon Christianson boot the ball the length of the pitch after Thurrock had placed the ball for a free-kick.
Then after being on the end of a diatribe of verbal abuse, Mr Purkiss was left with no choice but to send off midfielder Scott Shutton with five minutes remaining.
It is thought to be the first time in the league’s 108 year history that a game has been abandoned for this reason. It is the third fixture this year involving Thurrock that has been stopped before time.
Mr South said: “I thought it was an absolute disgrace. I thought they were trying to get the game abandoned.
“The referee had a good game, it was five sending offs. “For one of the dismissals, the player just came up when it was our free kick and booted the ball the length of the pitch having already been booked. It was at that point we thought they were trying to get the match abandoned.
“They were never going to score in a million years. But we might have scored more and if we get relegated on goal difference, having the game abandoned could be costly.
“I’ve never seen anything like it and i’ve been in non-league 35 years. It wasn’t a dirty game at all. We had two players booked, they had five sent off.”
In a statement, Aron Sharpe, the Wingate chairman said: “The club has taken the appropriate steps to address the issue with regard to the game versus Thurrock on March 10 that unfortunately was abandoned.
“We do not feel it appropriate to comment on any aspect until such time as the referee’s report is made available.”