For Salford City chairman, Darren Quick, celebrating his 40th birthday, there were no presents from the referee and his flag people today. Just gifts for Bamber Bridge. A well dubious penalty, and a missed offside that only he and his assistants didn't see. Plus some dodgy yellow cards as the icing on the cake.
To be fair, Bamber were the better side in a first half that saw their forwards miss three or four good chances before the penalty was given half an hour into the game for a Salford tackle in the box which sent the ball out for a corner. A penalty? And there's a flying Benitez!
Salford came so close to an equaliser just five minutes later when a Rhodri Giggs header hit the bar. But it was Bamber who led 1-0 at half time with fans shouting `One nil to the referee…'
Five minutes into the second half and it was the same sorry story as a Bamber pass into the box put their forward through in an offside position that neither the `referee' or his `assistants' could spot. He coolly wacked it past Andy Robertson to make it 2-0 and what looked like game over.
But Salford came back, and after 60 minutes Rhodri Giggs finished clinically after being put through from a superb chip. From then on it was all Salford, with Bamber clearing off their own goal line and shots whizzing narrowly past both posts.
With ten minutes left Barry Massay, who played about a million games for the Ammies at centre forward until last season, returned in the tangerine shirt as a sub, much to the delight of everyone. But even big Bazza couldn't get the crucial equaliser and Bamber legged it with the points, leaving the pitch to chants of `You know you don't deserve it…'
Still the Ammies could drown their sorrows in the new Tangerine Club – a massive orange portakabin with a proper bar, pictures on the wall and everything. The tables were decorated with balloons and banners wishing Darren a happy 40th. There would have been no better present than the ref's head on a platter, with his two assistants' flags shoved up his nose…
Top photos by Andrew Goudie