Dorset Premier League
Parley Sports 3 Poole Borough 1 (att 30)
I had doubts about this game as Poole Borough had been unable to field a side for their league match last week, and while they at least turned up at Parley they're likely to incur the wrath of the Dorset Premier League once again.
It was a surprise that Parley, going well in the league, had only managed one goal as the game approached half time. Poole Borough had already collected several bookings, and earned their first red card just before the break, a player managed to get himself sent off for arguing with the referee after being penalised for a foul throw.
The second half was likely to be a matter of how many Parley would score, but they were sluggish and it was well into the half before they doubled their lead.
A defensive mix up handed Poole a lifeline, and the chance of a point, but a controversial penalty in the final couple of minutes sealed Parley's win, and did nothing for Poole's unwarranted sense of injustice. They still had time to pick up a second red card, the keeper ordered off for a foul close to the halfway line that denied a goalscoring opportunity.
A less lenient referee might have dished out a few more cards to the visitors, and would have been wise to crack down on the antics of their bench.
After the final whistle tensions boiled over. I didn't see what started the altercation, but what I saw of the brawl that followed, involving players, spectators and club officials, I suspect the visitors were again at fault.
The match officials will no doubt report it to the league, and hopefully I won't be watching Poole Borough again any time soon.
That said, just before the end of the game, and before things turned really ugly, I was chatting to one of the Poole contingent. I sympathise with people, like him, who do their best to do the difficult job of running a football club at this level, only to be undermined and embarrassed by the antics of their players and coaches.
As for Parley, it appears to be a football club attached to a thriving social club. The main pitch is mostly railed off, with dugouts, but no cover for spectators. Perfectly adequate for this level of football,and not a bad place to spend an afternoon.