Moneyfields boss Miles Rutherford has branded the Football Association decision to throw his side out of the FA Vase as a ‘kick in the teeth’.
The Copnor club have been kicked out along with opponents AFC Bitton after their third-round tie ended in a brawl at Dover Road.
Both teams had been waiting to learn their fate since the match early last month, but the verdict was not totally unexpected by Rutherford.
‘In a way we knew it was coming,’ he said.
‘It doesn’t make it any easier, though, because it has ruined our season and left us little to play for.
‘We don’t feel as though it is right and are a little aggrieved.
‘The incident, in our eyes, was no more than a little skirmish and has been blown up out of all proportion.
‘We did not provoke the incident, although, will admit we were not totally blameless in the events that followed.
‘Some of our players retailiated and we acted as quickly as we could to stop it.
‘If the referee had been a little stronger – rather than running away from it – it could have been sorted.
‘We are not a dirty, kicking side – instead we try to get the ball down and pass it.
‘When we come up against physical sides, though, we are not a pushover either.
‘It is no good moaning about it, though.
‘We have to take the punishment on the chin and get on with things.’
It is the second time this season Moneyfields have been in trouble with the FA.
They were earlier found guilty of fielding an ineligible player after failing to get international clearance for striker Steve Hutchings on his return from Australia.
The club were forced to pay back their FA Cup prize money and are still waiting to hear if the Wessex League are going to deduct the 12 points they had earlier picked up with Hutchings in the side.
‘This season has become a bit of a nightmare with just one problem after another,’ added Rutherford.
‘I can’t believe it is taking the league so long to make a decision.
‘AFC Portchester are in the same position as us with a situation that goes back a couple of seasons.
‘It will be interesting to see what the league decides.
‘My biggest problem now is making sure our players maintain their motivation and interest.
‘That isn’t easy when you have had the type of season we have.
‘All we can do is go out on the pitch and continue enjoying our football.’
After a 1-0 win at Bemerton in midweek, Rutherford is hoping his side keep up their winning start to the year against Blackfield & Langley at Dover Road tomorrow (3pm).