THERE was drama at Rivacre Park on Saturday as the Motormen's relegation dogfight against basement club Avenue came close to abandonment due to a referee's injury.
Midway through the second half, with Vauxhall leading 1-0, man-in-the-middle Kevin Mattocks was laid low with a pulled hamstring.
With no fourth official, the hosts suggested two possible alternatives although one was their West Cheshire League team's manager and the other a Vauxhall player's father.
The visitors, who now have the relegation trapdoor gaping, were un-happy with these choices and for a while it seemed that they would not be returning to the field.
But after 20 minutes of deliberations, pressure mounting and players and angry supporters growing restless, Mr Mattocks agreed to soldier on and 'run' the line, taking the flag of Andy Haslam who stepped up to referee.
Manager Owen Brown said: 'The referee has dug Bradford out of a hole as they would have had to pick up the fine for refusing to play on. He wasn't saving us, we were even prepared to accepted Bradford's physio as a linesman. I think Bradford's officials were extremely naïve to think there would be a neutral in the crowd who just happens to be a qualified referee.'
The Motormen's best effort of the first half fell to Darren Wright but he failed to get a decent shot on target as he was quickly closed down by Avenue keeper Andy Britton.
The only goal came on 62 minutes as Peter Cumiskey controlled the ball with a lovely cushioned touch before picking out Darren Wright whose shot looped over Britton via a heavy deflection from Avenue skipper Dean Jones. Vauxhall: Dittmer, Woodyatt, Mike Duffy (Griffiths 25), Spellman, D Wright, Brazier, Nesbitt, Lawton, A Wright (Parry 83), Olsen, Cumiskey (Noone 69).