Salford City almost pulled off a stunning fightback after being 3-1 down to Burscough yesterday. Once again, the referee put on his red nose to influence events…
This game, on a horribly sticky pitch, looked set to be a bit of a scrappy non-event, with absolutely nothing happening until the 35th minute when Matty Purcell robbed the ball off a dithering defender, moved menacingly into the area and squared the ball for Rio Ahmadi to tap home. 1-0.
Salford fans were still singing and celebrating when Burscough went straight down the other end and equalised. 1-1.
At half time the game was well poised but five minutes after the interval the referee decided to change all that. A Burscough attack down the left wing ended with their centre forward throwing himself to the floor a yard outside the area under a challenge from Aaron Walters. A foul would have been an injustice – but, incredibly, the referee pointed to the spot.
`Are you betting on the game?' chanted Ammies fans, while the stunned players surrounded the clown in black imploring him to get some eyes, and the Burscough centre forward winked to his bench. A scandalous decision by a `referee' who, throughout the game, seemed intent on taking the name of every player on the pitch.
Over cries of `Cheat! Cheat! Cheat!' from the crowd, the Burscough forward brushed himself down and converted the penalty to give the somewhere-near-Scouse-land team the lead. 1-2.
Ten minutes later it got even worse as Burscough added a third from a breakaway while Salford were pressing for an equaliser. 1-3.
The Ammies looked doomed but Rio Ahmadi had other ideas. With twenty minutes left the Burscough keeper lost control of a Mark Battersby shot and Rio whacked the ball home for his second goal of the game. 2-3.
Five minutes later a Richard Smith lofted cross into the area was stylishly controlled by Rio and slotted into the net for his hat-trick. 3-3.
Burscough were rocking and at this point there seemed only one winner. Matty Purcell hit a shot just wide and Mark Battersby headed past the post as Salford went for the jugular. The pressure was on but in the last minute the Ammies came unstuck.
A quick throw from the Burscough keeper to the left back seemed to catch the whole Salford team unaware as he was allowed to scamper unchallenged right down the wing, almost to the by-line, where he crossed for the centre forward to notch his fourth goal of the game. 3-4. It was the classic sucker punch and the third last minute goal the Ammies have conceded since Christmas.
A pulsating game with the wrong result and swung by a clown ref with the wrong brain cells working…
The Ammies will pick themselves up and go again at home to Mossley next Saturday.
Photos by Gareth Lyons and Andrew Goudie
Main photo, by Gareth Lyons, shows Rio hitting his third goal