Havant & Waterlooville boss Bradbury: Leyton Orient full-back should have been sent off for ‘dangerous and reckless challenge’
Lee Bradbury felt the Hawks showed their bravery but decisions from the officials proved costly in their 2-1 defeat against Leyton Orient in their Vanarama National League contest at Westleigh Park.
The home side fought tooth and nail.
They pushed the title-chasing visitors all the way in front of their biggest crowd of the season.
It was Orient hanging on and surviving a contentious stoppage-time goalmouth scramble.
The Hawks insist the ball was over the line before keeper Dean Brill pulled it back.
Bradbury was annoyed the big decisions in the game went against his side.
He was convinced that Orient should have been down to 10 men after only seven minutes.
Orient full-back Sam Ling caught young Jack James full in the face with a dangerously high boot.
James had 17 stitches inserted into his face.
The Hawks boss said: ‘That was a red card every day of the week.
‘I fail to see how it wasn’t dangerous and reckless play.
‘He has got 17 stitches in his face and stud marks across his chest.
‘It is ridiculous and was a high boot with the player pushing his studs towards his face.
‘I just can’t believe that it was judged as just a yellow card.
‘Against 10 men we would probably have gone on and got something out of the game.’
Ryan Woodford replaced James and helped the organised defence keep the O's at bay.
There was little they do however to prevent the visitors taking a 36th minute lead
Jordan Maguire-Drew latched onto a ball 30 yards out and scored with an unstoppable dipping volley into the far corner of the net.
If that strike was good then Alfie Rutherford's 67th-minute equaliser was even better.
After his initial 25-yard effort was blocked the young striker smashed the rebound high into the net.
Joy was short-lived though as Orient regained the lead seven minutes later.
A long throw from the right looped off the head of Josh Coulson and into the far corner.
Bradbury felt it was rough on his side.
The Hawks boss added: ‘We had what is probably the best team in the league on the ropes for a long time.
‘In the first half we created the better chances and towards the end felt we were the better team.
‘I am proud of my players because they really worked hard for each other.
‘We defended very well and were resolute.
‘It was unfortunate we didn't come out the right side with anything to show for it.
‘I feel we acquitted ourselves excellently.
‘Leyton Orient came off the pitch knowing that they have been in a real game.’
It was little consolation for the Hawks who find themselves four points adrift of safety.
Hawks: Dudzinski, Strugnell, Cordner, Rose, Fogden, Robinson, Lewis (Sekajja 82), Quigley, James (Woodford 7), Rutherford, Jalloh (Paterson 66).