CHESTER CITY’S players and management were incensed by a decision to give defender Kevin Sandwith a straight red card for an alleged deliberate handball early in the Coca-Cola League Two defeat at troubled Boston United on Saturday.
Sandwith was dismissed after 16 minutes by Leeds-based referee Jon Moss, leaving the visitors to play for the majority of the game with 10 men.
The controversial incident occurred following a corner on the right. City defender Paul Linwood sliced the ball towards his own goal, and the ball appeared to hit Sandwith’s chest and then his arm, before bouncing into the grasp of keeper Jon Danby.
However, after consulting a linesman Mr Moss brandished a red card and awarded a penalty to the relegation-threatened Lincolnshire club.
City’s players protested to the official, but to no avail. Danby then made an excellent save, pushing Jamie Clarke’s spot-kick round the post.
Sandwith’s dismissal meant a change of formation for Chester, and they adopted a 4-4-1 system. Boston had two chances towards the end of the first period. Galbraith saw a 20-yard free-kick blocked, then Ellender headed just wide of the upright.
Boston endeavoured to make their numerical advantage tell in the second period. Clarke and Cooksey fired wide, and Danby made an excellent save to deny Francis Green.
Chester thought they should have been awarded a penalty midway through the period, when youngster Paul Rutherford, who had another impressive match, appeared to be fouled in the area by Farrell, but Mr Moss waved the appeals away.
With seven minutes of the game remaining, Boston grabbed the goal which may be a survival lifeline.
Galbraith took a corner on the right, and Jamie Stevens flashed a header past Danby.
Chester’s assistant manager Graham Barrow said: “The lad (Sandwith) is an honest lad and he says he didn’t intentionally handle the ball. The ball hit him on the chest and rolled on to his arm,.
“The linesman gave the decision not the referee – that was definitely a key factor in the result.
“We battled well and I thought we did enough not to lose.”
BOSTON UNITED: Marriott, Stevens, Cryan, Grieves, Maylett, Galbraith, Clarke, Cooksey, Farrell, Green, Ellender. Subs: Rowntree, Joyce, Nunn.
CHESTER CITY: Danby, Linwood, Hessey, Artell, Vaughan (Kelly 66), Bennett, Rutherford (Cronin 79), Hand, Sandwith, Yeo, Holroyd (Wilson 46). Subs: Meechan, Steele.