Selsey boss Adam Hinshelwood couldn’t hide his frustration with the referee after he failed to award a first-half penalty in their Sussex League first-division game at Rye that finished 3-3.
The away side were leading when the referee awarded the penalty, but after consulting the linesman he decided to award Rye a goal kick, to the bemusement of Hinshelwood and his team.
He said: “It was a ridiculous decision at a crucial point in the game. It had a big impact on the result and it was clear the ref was too easily intimidated by the players.
“It was frustrating to not win the game after being 3-1 up with 15 minutes to go, but to come away from a tough place like Rye and be disappointed not to win shows how much progress we’ve made.
“We can take many positives from the game, we had the bulk of the better chances and if we carry on playing this well I’m confident of winning many more games this season and finishing higher than we did last year.
“Who knows where we will finish at the end of the season? If the lads apply themselves well I’m sure we can have a strong finish.
“Maybe a lack of consistency has been our problem recently but we have a young squad, some have only started playing men’s football this season, so to see them sticking together and working hard is good to see.
Selsey showed no ill effects from their longest journey of the season as they drew first blood inside 90 seconds through a neat finish from inside the box by Jack Bingham.
The visitors were awarded a penalty after 15 minutes following a challenge by Rye keeper Josh Willis on Ollie Hagger in the corner of the box. But after Rye protested, the referee eventually consulted his linesman, changed his mind and gave a goal kick to Rye.
Rye equalised in the 37th minute. Andy Atkin latched on to a good little ball over the top, rounded goalkeeper Sam Joyce and saw his shot blocked by a defender on the line - but Liam Upton was on hand to slide home the rebound.
Selsey, hammered 8-1 in the corresponding fixture last season, went back in front in the 45th minute. A free-kick went into the defensive wall and a couple of ricochets later, it fell nicely for Dan Martin to turn it in.
The West Sussex outfit went 3-1 up 20 minutes into the second half. Rye joint manager Anthony Storey had a shot saved at one end and Selsey broke straight down the other, where Calum Britton took advantage of some defensive hesitation.
Rye pulled one back in the 75th minute when Jack Franklin beat two players in midfield before playing in Olly Lockyer, who produced a delightful finish over Joyce.
Matt Maclean glanced a header just wide of the far post from Lockyer’s cross and Storey had a shot blocked, but Rye levelled as the clock ticked into added time. A free-kick was delivered into the Selsey box and nodded down for Sean Kelly to hook into the net.
Rye weren’t content with a point and pushed on in search of a winner. They went close to getting one in the fourth minute of added time as substitute Dominic Clarke fired Maclean’s cross goalwards only to be denied by a fine save from Joyce diving to his right.
Hinshelwood will be hoping his team produces a similar performance when they face Shoreham on Saturday.
SELSEY: Joyce, McFarlane, Hinshelwood, Williamson, Heggarty, Lee, Hagger, Wood, Martin, Britton, Bingham. Subs: Covill, Caell, Parsons.
JOSH HARRISON & SIMON NEWSTEAD