Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Penistone Church manager Steve Lenthall said he had “never seen anything like it” after his side’s clash at Hemsworth Miners Welfare was abandoned following a brief fracas on the terraces.
Sent off Penistone substitute Kieran Ryan was set upon by a lone ranger spectator by the tunnel entrance in the 71st minute, triggering two minutes of mayhem.
Several Church players vaulted the barriers and although the disturbance was dispersed straightaway, the referee Matthew Langdon immediately abandoned the game without consultation with the teams.
“With the two lads who got sent off, I didn’t think Kieran deserved to get sent off,” Lenthall told Non League Yorkshire.
“I didn’t think he had done anything, the kid (Kane Swinburn) had kicked out at Kieran and got sent off.
“The referee seemed to level it up (by sending Kieran Ryan off) but what happened in the tunnel afterwards is a disgrace from the Hemsworth point of view.
“With the regard to the fan it was bang out of order attacking one of our players.
“He’s going to defend himself and rightly the team went to try and help him out.
“I just thought it was a bit of a carnage and the game has got abandoned.
“I think the referee didn’t give it enough time and I think he should have put us in the changing room for five minutes to allow things to settle down.
“However he’s a young referee and he’s probably never witnessed anything like it before like many people in the ground.
“It is the worst scenes I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen anything like it.
“It happened so quick and from the dugout you couldn’t really see what happened.
“But Hemsworth have to look at that and punish the fan for what he has done and I’m sure they will because they are a decent club and they do things right.”
Penistone had been losing 3-1 at the time.
They had battled back to 1-1 at one stage but overall it was a poor performance and Lenthall wasn’t impressed.
“I’m disappointed with how we approached the game in the first half,” he said.
“We said to the boys before we went out that we didn’t want a repeat of what happened against Athersley and to not think the game is going to be won (because of Hemsworth’s lowly status).
“I thought we did turn up in the first half thinking we could get a result out of this and we don’t have to put a shift in.
“Hemsworth proved that because they were better than us all over the park.
“They winning the first and second balls and they got their just rewards as they went 1-0 up just before half-time.
“We said at half-time to the lads that their attitudes had to change and the way we play had to change.
“We had to get out full-backs more involved and make the pitch wider.
“I thought for the first 15-20 minutes of the second half we did that and isolated them in the right areas and got our just-rewards in getting the equaliser.
“But then we sat back again and we didn’t close the ball down and we allowed them space in the middle third.
“The second goal is a worldie but it got there which it shouldn’t have done.
“To concede the third straightaway it looked like the game was dead and buried.”