Thame manager left fuming by dubious penalty decision BUT thrilled by form

Alex Stewart made a welcome return to action
Alex Stewart made a welcome return to action

Thame United showed no signs of ring rustiness after a long Christmas break when they thrashed Reading Town 4-0 in the Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup on Tuesday night.

But it was the dubious 2-1 league defeat to Slimbridge on Saturday which is still dominating the manager’s thoughts.

United had not played since December 18 before their Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division match against second-placed Slimbridge in which they fell to a controversial penalty.

Boss Mark West said: “It was never a penalty. The ref couldn’t even see it. The lad barely gets touched and then two seconds later throws himself on the floor.”

United started brightly and despite falling behind to an unfortunate own goal, Ben Gray’s spectacular overhead kick drew them level.

However, just moments later the controversy struck and United were left to lick their wounds.

While West riled at the referee he did add it was United’s profligacy which cost them.

“We should have won comfortably. But if you don’t take your chances you don’t win.”

The boss had a fair point with United hitting the post and substitute Matt Johnson heading over from five yards with the goal at his mercy and just seconds left on the clock.

West added: “That sort of summed it up. I think sometimes you just have to take it and think ‘It’s not our day’.”

Despite the defeat West praised his side and was thrilled to see them bounce back in style against Reading.

Goals from Niall Hodgkins, Luke Ricketts and a welcome strike for the returning Alex Stewart, who had spent several months on the sidelines, secured the win.

West said: “Both games were great team performances.”

After their extended break, West said he was frustrated to now have no game until January 19, which is against Reading again.

He said: “It’s a bit of a pain really. We’ve already had two weeks off. It would have been nice to just have kept playing.

“The form’s there and it would have been good to keep it going.”