US Portsmouth boss Grice: First half red card ‘ruined’ home Wessex Premier League loss to unbeaten Hamworthy United
US Portsmouth boss Tom Grice admitted his side’s first red card of the Wessex Premier League season ‘ruined’ their home game with title hopefuls Hamworthy United.
US were trailing 1-0 when centre half Connor Saunders collected his second yellow card just before half-time.
Not only that, but new signing Lamin Jatta was sin binned for 10 minutes for comments made to the referee.
Adding insult to injury, Adam Costello scored direct from the free-kick which followed Saunders’ dismissal. A third goal after the restart condemned US to their eighth loss in nine league games.
‘The result wasn’t not to be expected bearing in mind who we were playing,’ said Grice. ‘However, the game might have gone slightly differently but for a few decisions.
‘It was a ball to send Connor off - the first one was 100 per cent a booking but in the second he’s pulled out of the challenge, there was no contact - but the referee told me at half-time there was intent.
‘Lamin was asking questions and got put in the sinbin. My understanding of the sinbin is it’s for foul and abusive language.
‘The frustrating thing is we’d gone from hitting the underside of the bar to Hamworthy going up the other end and scoring - we’re 2-0 down with only nine men against the possible title winners and the game has changed completely.
‘It was hard enough as it was without being let down by the officials. I felt the red card genuinely ruined the game.’
Jatta was one of two new faces in the US ranks. While he has joined on a ‘gentleman’s loan’ - ‘he can play for us until Portchester want him back’ - his ex-Royals colleague Tom Dinsmore has moved to the Victory Stadium permanently.
With Connor Grant unavailable from the starting XI in last Tuesday’s 4-1 loss at Portchester, skipper Tom Jeffes moved back into defence to partner Saunders with Jatta as the lone striker. When Saunders was dismissed, sub Obi Saidy came on into central defence with young full back Owen Scammell, who was on a yellow, coming off.
‘Lamin put a shift in,’ said Grice. ‘He caused them problems - Hamworthy are not the quickest team. He needs to work on his ball retention but he did cause them problems with his pace.
‘Tom Dinsmore did well, he was a bit leggy as he hadn’t played for a while. He’s fit, but not match fit.’
Tim Sills’ Hamworthy, meanwhile, power on. They have now lost only one of their last 27 Wessex Premier games, stretching back to the start of the 2020/21 season, winning 22 of them. In addition, they are one of only eight sides in the 15 step 5 divisions of the English non-league pyramid yet to lose a league game in 2021/22.