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Robinson reeling at harsh red card as Hungerford endure difficult weekend

Hungerford Town endured a bank holiday weekend to forget.

The Crusaders picked up just one point from a possible six, losing 2-1 to unbeaten Salisbury in a full-blooded game which saw defender Matt Berry-Hargreaves controversially sent off before twice forfeiting a lead in a 2-2 draw with strugglers Didcot.

On Saturday, Hungerford went ahead in Salisbury thanks to frontman Conor McDonagh but the game was soon turned on its head when winger Josh Edges equalised before Portuguese defender Sido Jombati made it 2-1 from the spot after Matt Berry-Hargreaves was sent off for allegedly bringing down James Harding in the area.

Hungerford celebrate Sean Moore’s goal against Didcot. Pictures by Phil Cannings
Hungerford celebrate Sean Moore’s goal against Didcot. Pictures by Phil Cannings

Then, on Monday, the Crusaders twice went ahead against winless Didcot through Sean Moore and Conor McDonagh’s sixth goal of the campaign, but were twice pegged back and had to settle for a point.

Conor McDonagh scores Hungerford’s second goal against Didcot
Conor McDonagh scores Hungerford’s second goal against Didcot
New frontman Dave Tarpey brings the ball down
New frontman Dave Tarpey brings the ball down
Skipper Rhys Tyler attacks down the right
Skipper Rhys Tyler attacks down the right

Manager Danny Robinson was unable to hide his frustration at the referee’s decision to hand Matt Berry-Hargreaves a straight red card in the defeat to Salisbury, but remained upbeat about his side’s battling performances.

Hungerford Town boss Danny Robinson
Hungerford Town boss Danny Robinson

“We haven’t won in two, but I prefer to look at it like we’ve only lost one of our last three,” he said.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m proud of the lads.

“The Salisbury game was taken out of our hands by the man in the middle.

“We were playing really well, their goalkeeper pulled off a great save when we were 1-0 up and then the referee gave a decision that was hard to take.

“I think he must have been the only man in the ground to have seen what he saw.

“If that’s a red card, then football is gone.

“The arrogance of him (the referee) was unbelievable, but I was so pleased with how the lads responded.

“On Monday, we were dominant but the way we defended balls into our box was criminal, so we didn’t deserve to win.

“At the end of the day, it was another game unbeaten at home, so we’re building in the right direction.”

Robinson admitted Matt Berry-Hargreaves, who has been sent off twice this season, was distraught in the dressing room after Saturday’s straight red card and said that Hungerford have appealed against the decision.

He said: “He was in tears.

“Footballers are human beings, full of passion and emotion and Matt is no different.

“We’re gutted for him.

“He had interest from elsewhere in the summer but he stuck with us, so we’ll be sticking with him at this challenging time.

“Have we seen the best of him this season? No, definitely not.

“He’s a tremendous player who is right up there with one of the best I’ve ever worked with.

“We’ve appealed the red card and we’re confident it will be successful, so we’re hopeful we won’t have to do without him this weekend.”

Hungerford, who are 12th in the Southern Premier League South table following a somewhat underwhelming first half a dozen games, now turn their attention to the FA Cup first qualifying round and the visit of Wessex League outfit Petersfield Town.

“We’re looking forward to it, the FA Cup is the best cup competition in the world,” Robinson said.

“We want to go as far as possible.

“We know the importance of it because we want to make as much money as possible for the football club.

“We’ve got bills to pay, it’s as simple as that, so we’d love to have a good run and we’ll be giving it our all to make sure we do so.”

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