Controversy reigned supreme at Bolitho Park on Saturday as United’s 400+ mile round trip saw Paul Hughes’ side return home with an empty hand and suspensions looming as an injury time flare up between United and the match officials following the award of a free-kick that subsequently led to the only goal saw United end a man short on the pitch and two short off of it.
The hosts started quickly and in just the first minute Jacob Adams was called into action to make a diving grab from an angled Tyler Harvey effort and after the game settled into a bit of a midfield battle Adams was still being kept busy, firstly he easily held a Harvey header following a Will Dean free-kick and then in the 24th minute White Tigers skipper Connor Riley-Lowe fed the ball back to Dan Sullivan but again Adams was equal to his effort.
Sullivan then collected a throughball and laid it off to Harvey who fired wide from the edge of the box before the best chance of the half fell to United on the half hour mark when Cole Brown cut inside past Sullivan from the right, his left footed drive from 20 yards forcing a fine one handed save from former United stopper James Hamon in the hosts goal.
A couple of minutes later Luke Warner-Eley chipped the ball forwards to Roger James but he was closed down quickly by Hamon who stood tall and blocked his effort wide of the goal at close range.
A minute later Sullivan exchanged passes with Harvey and as the former was about to shoot he was sent to the ground by a Josh Lelan tackle with referee Anstice-Mitchell pointing to the spot. Harvey took the kick from the twelve yard mark only to be denied by a fine diving save from Adams with Brown getting to the loose ball first to clear.
The second half took a little time to get going with the bumpy pitch being of no help to either side when it came to flowing football.
Just before the hour mark Andrew Neal got his head to a Dean free-kick but his flicked effort was wide of the target and a minute later with play switching ends, Moses Emmanuel played the ball to Warner-Eley on the left, his cross was met by Brown arriving at the near post but Hamon was down quick to push his shot wide of the post.
With three quarters of the game played Warner-Eley and Emmanuel again combined, this time the cross came from Emmanuel with Danny Green arriving at the far post but his shot was just wide of the upright, two minutes later Adams comfortably caught a Dean free-kick and from there the game petered out a little although Emmanuel was inches away from connecting with a Reece Cole free-kick and for the hosts Kyle Egan fired across goal and wide of the far post.
Then we arrived at stoppage time with the game looking like being honours even without a goal being scored. A challenge in the middle of the United half saw a free-kick controversially awarded to Truro against skipper Sanmi Odelusi, who actually appeared to be the player fouled, the skipper challenged the award too vehemently and was shown a red card along with Assistant Manager Ritchie Hanlon who also protested too strongly to the referee’s assistant near the bench.
Riley-Lowe eventually took the free-kick once things had calmed on and off the pitch, his kick subsequently being volleyed home in the area by Ollie Haste which again sparked complaints from the United bench against the original decision and this time gaffer Paul Hughes was sent from the dugout for his protests and United were left to travel home pointless despite an excellent hard working performance against a top side which was negated by a number of confusing on-field decisions throughout, the final one being the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to defeat and a deflated long trip back to London for United.
Report by Kevin Watts.
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