MALMESBURY Victoria had to hang on to earn a point at home in the derby with New College after Dan Thompson was sent off for an off-the-ball incident.
Malmesbury boss Gareth Davies and New College academy director Ian Howell agreed that the final score was a fair one in a scrappy game hampered by the qualtiy of the surface at the Flying Monk Ground .
Matty Cooper had given the home side the lead in the first half when his corner drifted straight in. The fortunate nature of the goal was a barometer of the standard as the two sides struggled with the difficult conditions.
Davies thought the goal gave his side confidence and gave them the edge going into the break.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, lets’s put it that way. There was not a lot of ball retention as the surface was difficult to play on. Once we got the goal we played better and got into the game more.”
Howell said that he and the New College manager Mark Teasdale both felt their side needed to change their style from the opening period.
“Teaser and I felt the lads need to more aggressive and take the game to Malmesbury,” said Howell.
Whatever was said had an immediate impact on New College as they came out for the second half fired up and put their hosts under more intense pressure.
Thompson’s red card, apparently for reacting to a pull back by kicking out at a New College player, was crucial in allowing the students to mount an assault on the Malmesbury goal.
David Kinuthia eventually made New College’s dominance count, scoring at the far post after a nice switch of play.
Davies was happy to come away with a point given Malmesbury’s numerical disadvantage.
“We’ll take a point with ten men, a point is a point. Dan was disappointed he was sent off which put us under the cosh. He apologised to the team as he knew that we were winning the game and there’s no need for these things. But that’s one of those things that happen when you have a young side.”
Howell saw the point as good result for his side.
“It was quite an even encounter. The pitch was a bit of a leveller and a draw was a fair result. We had the better of the latter stages and we deserved our goal.”
Davies may have been calm about his side’s performance but was less happy about the league only providing two officals for the game.
“That’s not good enough, one of our lads, Darren McCluskey, had to run the line. He shouldn’t be under that pressure, at Hellenic level it’s farcical.”
Fortunately the lack of officals did not affect the game adversely and Howell had kind words for the original assitant who stepped in to referee.
“The ref who stepped up did a very good job coming in at that level, he organised the situation well and I said to him afterwards i thought he did a good job.”