Bircham unimpressed with officials as Tudors are hit by late setback

Hemel Hempstead Town were on course for their first win of the season before being denied deep into injury-time

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 7:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 7:32 am
Tudors manager Lee Bircham

Lee Bircham was left far from impressed with the match officials after Hemel Hempstead Town were denied their first win of the season on Saturday.

The Tudors fell behind to a first-half penalty against Eastbourne Borough at Vauxhall Road but fought back to lead in the second half thanks to two goals from JJ Lacey, the first of which was also from the spot with the second coming late on.

However, Hemel then conceded an equaliser in the sixth minute of stoppage-time and, while the 2-2 draw halted the losing run, Bircham’s team were cruelly denied their first victory of the Vanarama National League South campaign.

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The injury crisis, which struck the club at the start of the season, appears to be easing but Bircham felt his team didn’t get what they deserved.

“The only things you can control are your performances,” the Tudors boss said.

“I suppose there would be a problem if you are getting a few of your best players back and the performances weren’t coming but we are getting a few of them back now.

“I’ve said it before but no matter who the team is, if you take three or four of their best players out of it then they won’t be as strong as they can be.

“For us, the timing of it was the worst thing because it gave us no time to make the changes.

“But they are coming back and I was really pleased with the spirit of the lads on Saturday.

“I have looked at it again and I don’t know what the referee has seen to give them a penalty in the first half. No-one has claimed for anything.

“So we have gone in 1-0 down at half-time and the boys could have crumbled but they have come out and got themselves in front in injury-time.

“Then the referee tells the assistant that there is three minutes of injury-time and we were on the floor because we had some lads who haven’t had a pre-season and we were down to the last legs.

“But the referee has just carried on and it was the 97th minute when they scored.

“That’s the way our luck is going and it’s another game where we have played well and we should have won.

“All we can control is our performance but I was deeply disappointed with the officials on Saturday.

“You don’t want to moan about the refereeing all the time but you also can’t ignore it when things keep happening to you.

“There were lots of positives, the camp feels good but we just didn’t get what we deserved.”