SWINDON Supermarine manager Lee Spalding felt the harsh dismissal of goalkeeper Martin Horsell robbed his side of any chance of fighting back for a positive result following a heavy 4-0 loss at home to Frome Town in Southern League Premier Division South on Saturday.

After finding themselves behind to Ryan Bath’s early opener, Marine were then a man down as well as a goal down five minutes before half-time when Horsell was given his marching orders for handling the ball outside the box.

With no goalkeeper on the bench, defender Matt Williams was forced to fill the void between the sticks, and he could do nothing to prevent further goals from Tom Mehew, Oliver Knowles and Marcus Mapstone for Frome the second half.

Although admitting his side did not play well enough, Spalding believed the red card was ultimately the deciding factor in the outcome at the Webbswood Stadium.

“We didn’t start the game well and Frome scored early – we weren’t on the front foot enough,” said Spalding.

“We knew they would be a good footballing side and are set up to pass the ball. They did that very well.

“We didn’t get amongst them and probably gave them a bit too much space. Ultimately, that cost us for half-an-hour and then the sending off totally killed us.

“From where I was stood, I was really disappointed that Martin was sent off because I don’t think he denied a goal-scoring opportunity.

“Their player tried to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and it’s hit him in the chest and then bounced onto his hand. For him to be sent off, I think that is the wrong decision.

“We had to put a central defender in goal and although he did his best, the goalkeeper is probably the worst player to lose to a red card.

“In the second half, we had a go, but Frome made good advantage of the extra man and moved the ball well.

“However, with two of the goals they scored, if we’d had a proper keeper in goal then they would have been saved.

“Our start wasn’t good enough, but I would say the sending off decision ultimately cost us as it gave us no chance of rectifying that start.”

The result leaves Supermarine 10th in the table, six points below the play-off places with a trip to league leaders Taunton Town awaiting next weekend.