NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Two Soham Town Rangers players see red in ‘crazy’ clash

Callum Russell was the first Soham Town Rangers player to be sent off against Canvey Island. Picture

Callum Russell was the first Soham Town Rangers player to be sent off against Canvey Island. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

Two players saw red on a night of controversy for Soham Town Rangers.

The Greens were beaten 3-1 by Canvey Island in a chaotic BetVictor North Division clash at Julius Martin Lane.

Rangers hit the front courtesy of an own goal before having midfield duo Callum Russell and Alfie Connor dismissed in the space of four minutes around the half-hour mark by referee Emily Heaslip.

Incredibly the nine men retained the lead until the final 20 minutes when Canvey Island levelled.

But battling Soham then remained on terms until being left heartbroken by two goals in the dying moments - the second of which arrived from a penalty following a handball.

"It was a crazy game," admitted Okay. "Having seen the red cards again on the video, I would have to say Callum's dismissal was questionable to say the least.

"It was a case of two players going in for the ball and initially everyone thought we would be getting the free-kick but then we ended up with our man being sent off.

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"I would personally have said that Alfie's tackle was worth a yellow card rather than a red, but I have to appreciate the game is changing in that regard.

"It was a really difficult time for us. We were already trying to react to losing Callum when we then found ourselves down to nine men.

"It was one of those split-second decisions for Alfie and he couldn't pull out of the tackle.

"The lads put in a tremendous effort for the rest of the game and are very proud of how they performed under the circumstances when they could easily have crumbled.

"It was a strange feeling to lose a game but feel we actually got a lot out of it in terms of togetherness and desire.

"We've got to write off last night and hopefully we can start moving forward again on Saturday with 11 players on the pitch."

On a night of dismissals, Canvey Island man George Woodward escaped with a caution during the second half after leaving the pitch to become involved in an altercation in the stand.

To make matters worse for Soham, they were also hit by a catalogue of injuries and finished the game with only eight players on the pitch.

Substutite Jake Andrews dislocated his shoulder twice, Lewis Clayton rolled his ankle and Luke Brown tweaked a hamstring.

They are all doubts for a home date against Hullbridge Sports on Saturday, 3pm, at Julius Martin Lane.