Billingshurst denied victory after controversial late penalty
A controversial late penalty saw Billingshurst held to a 1-1 draw at fourth-placed Shoreham on Saturday.
The visitors had looked more than worthy of the three points at Middle Road and even the most ardent home supporters will be thankful to the match officials that they managed to pinch a point.
For Hurst, it was their fifth draw in their last six SCFL Division One clashes and while they have become extremely hard to beat, they have not found the knack of killing off their opponents.
A superb front-to-back first-half team goal was put away by the head of Sam Bull from a delicious Tom Edwards cross shortly before half-time to give Hurst a slender lead at the break.
The second half lacked any real quality from either side and in swirling wind and rain the game became fractious and disjointed, aided with a bizarre afternoon of officiating.
Late tackles went unpunished and a number of incidents were seemingly missed by the officials. The worst came in the final five minutes when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after a long throw from the right-hand side.
With no appeals from Shoreham players, supporters, or the bench, clarification from the referee was sought and he stated it was for a push by Robbie Tambling.
John Lansdale converted the resulting spot kick and a melee ensued with Shoreham trying to retrieve the ball from the net, but again, swinging arms were somehow missed.
Billingshurst will look back to a golden second-half chance when Nick Tilley went through one-on-one with Ricardo Alves, but the stopper saved well from close range with the score at 1-0.
They also had strong penalty appeals waved away late on for a Tom Shelley challenge on Bull deep in the area.
Billingshurst manager Lee Spickett said: “Obviously you have to be pleased with a point away at a top six club, but we’re fast becoming draw specialist and we need to turn the draws into victories.
"Again I felt we fully deserved three points, we scored a fantastic team goal and were very good first half.
"Second half we never played as well, but how the referee has given that penalty, nobody in the ground knows and we feel very aggrieved, especially seeing it back on Veo.
"We also had a stonewall penalty turned away, but all things considered, we’re proving very hard to beat and we’re going in the right direction.”