Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Shane Kelsey condemned the actions of the lone ranger who caused the abandonment of Hemsworth Miners Welfare’s clash with Penistone Church.
The Wells were leading 3-1 with 19 minutes to go when the temperature was raised by the dismissals of Kane Swinburn and Penistone substitute Kieran Ryan.
Ryan was then set upon by one spectator, leading to two minutes of chaos as several Church players leaped over the pitch-side fence to protect their comrade.
“99% of the people who were here today are a credit to the community but unfortunately one idiot decided to an idiot,” Kelsey told Non League Yorkshire.
“The most disappointing part of it for me was when I was looking over and there were women and children caught in the middle of it.
“That shouldn’t happen.
“It was a ridiculous situation and I can’t believe it.
“I put it down to one individual who probably can’t take his beer and got carried away.”
Although the fracas was over within three minutes, referee Matthew Langdon immediately called an early finish.
The fact the game was abandoned on safety grounds was slightly made a mockery of later on as the match officials, plus players and management teams from both sides stayed for an hour afterwards in the bar.
Kelsey felt the referee reacted too quickly in abandoning the game.
“In my opinion it shouldn’t have been abandoned,” he said.
“I spoke to the referee and I totally respect his decision and I can understand it.
“Yes he is a youngster and if he feels threatened for his safety then that is the correct decision.
“What I find hard to accept is that he made the decision in the heat of the moment.
“He could have said like you would if the lights went out ‘let’s 20 minutes in the changing room and reevaluate it then when the club have had chance to remove the perpetrators’.
“Then after that if he feels he can’t safely referee the game then we accept his decision.
“A more experienced referee may have handled it differently.”
What happens next is in the hands of the league and the Sheffield FA.
Both clubs are almost certain to be charged and fined for failing control their players.
But given the unprecedented nature of an NCEL match abandoned for ‘crowd trouble’, the ramifications could be serious – particularly for Hemsworth.
That’s why Kelsey fears a heavy punishment.
“With the emails that have been coming from the league and the big push on lack of referees, they need to make an example of someone,” he said.
“It would not surprise me one little bit if it is a penalty that hasn’t seen before.
“I wouldn’t take a points deduction off the table.
“I hope it doesn’t come to that.”