Horsham YMCA goalkeeper Sam Smith suffered a dislocated elbow in the dying moments of their derby with Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday night.
Smith went down under a challenge from Scott Weller deep in added time which led to Heath’s Ollie Moore poking home the winning goal in the last action of the game.
It gave the Bears a 2-1 lead in the Premier Division clash with the clock on 94 minutes, but despite there being still more than two minutes left to play, the game could not continue with Smith down awaiting an ambulance.
YM boss Peter Buckland encouraged referee Luke Chapman to blow the whistle early – which he did.
He said: “The referee said we had two and a half minutes to play, but we can’t move Sam so what do I do? Do I keep everyone out here for an hour and the pitch freezes even more? So I just had to concede and say not to play the extra minutes.
“I couldn’t think what else I could do, to my effect it’s as good as cheating if I’d said we would wait for an hour and play the two and a half minutes. Sam’s interests are more important than the result and we wish him a speedy recovery. We draw a line under it.”
YM took the lead midway through the second half through Phil Johnson, before Jake Holmes fired Heath level five just minutes later.
The result is expected to stand as the referee blew his full-time whistle at the end, but will need ratification from the Southern Combination League board.
Heath boss Steve Painter said: “ I think Sam Smith is great goalkeeper and great lad as well. My deepest regrets go out to him, it’s just an unfortunate injury on a football pitch.
“All our lads are gutted for him, they all know him, have played with him and our regards go out to him.
“I feel sorry for the lad – our lad Scott Weller is the softest lad in our changing room and only a young guy, he is gutted. He has said he didn’t even see the keeper coming and had his eyes firmly on the ball.
“To be fair to all the YM players, not one has said it’s our player’s fault. They said he has just come down on a bad surface and landed awkwardly.”
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