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Hungerford Town 0-1 Oxford City: Drama off the pitch ends with drama on the pitch as Crusaders lose to rivals

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There were three red cards, a first-half brawl and a late winner as Hungerford Town suffered a 1-0 defeat to Oxford City in the National League South.

City captain Reece Fleet scored the game's only goal three minutes from time, which saw Sol Wanjau-Smith and both managers, Danny Robinson and David Oldfield, sent off.

Neither side were dangerous in the opening 15 minutes of the encounter, but drama was about to follow very quickly.

Hungerford were beat by Oxford City
Hungerford were beat by Oxford City

Crusaders forward Wanjau-Smith was dismissed after just 20 minutes of the contest at Bulpit Lane after a challenge on Canice Carroll.

In what seemed to be a 50/50 challenge from distance, many of the 367 in attendance were shocked to see referee Jonathan Maskrey produce a straight red.

Tempers continued to boil throughout the opening half and they reached breaking point a few moments before the break.

Hungerford captain Callum Willmoth attempted to retrieve the ball from Zico Asare when the home side had a throw-in, but the home player pushed into his opponent who almost went crashing into the advertisement boards.

From there, both dugouts and all the players on the pitch got involved in a brawl which took a few minutes to cool down.

Different battles were taking place just in front of the main stand and it was unsure what referee Maskrey would do.

However, after a lengthy conversation with one of his officials, he gave both Willmoth and Asare yellow cards and then sent Robinson and Oldfield from the bench.

It is unsure as to what happened throughout the incident, but it is likely both sides will receive a fine of some sort from the Football Association.

The second-half was much-improved in terms of action on the pitch and Hungerford’s first real opportunity fell to George Smith.

The midfielder won the ball from Oxford’s Jack Davies, before going onto force Ben Dudzinski into a fine low save.

At the other end, Luke Cairney was on hand to deny Fleet with a header when the captain was unmarked in the penalty area.

Both sides continued to push for a winner and Hungerford also defended superbly, considering they were playing 70 minutes with a man down.

City substitute Nana Owusu went close for the visitors, but with seven minutes of the game remaining they found the goal.

After an Oxford attack, the ball fell to Fleet and who eloquently floated the ball over Cairney and into the top corner of the net and many of the Hungerford players fell to their feet.

The home side failed to generate any opportunities after the goal and they were left empty-handed, despite battling hard for so long.

Manager Robinson will, no doubt, rally his players once again when they head to Bath City next weekend, but he’ll have to do it from the stands with a touchline ban expected to follow.

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