FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
Spurs Res 1 Coventry City 2
What should have been a night for celebration and positive reflection for another fine reserve team season ended with a bitter taste in the mouth after two controversial sendings off at the Lane on Tuesday night.
Theo Foley's men went into the match full of hope for the victory that would have clinched second spot in the FA Premier Reserve League.
But they left angry, frustrated and bemused by the performance of referee Gary Chapman who red carded both young winger Matthew Etherington and goalkeeper Ian Walker for using foul and abusive language.
The players involved pleaded their innocence. Etherington admitted he said the words 'it's a joke' as he walked up the tunnel at half-time but the referee, having heard the comment, produced a red card at the dressing room door.
Walker certainly screamed something out in frustration after receiving a poor back pass from Ian Hillier with 75 minutes on the clock. We can only assume that the referee believed the comment was directed at him because he wasted no time in brandishing another red card.
The incidents could have more severe repercussions for the players - they now face the prospect of a suspension at the start of next season.
The dismissals made an uphill task even harder after an impressive Coventry outfit took the game by the scruff of the neck early on.
Walker had already produced a reaction save from Mark Noon and the dangerous Jay Bothroyd had caused problems when the visitors went ahead.
Jason Ashby burst into the area only to be upended by Maurizio Consorti and Bothroyd made no mistake from the spot.
We came back into it after the goal and looked a threat down the right flank where Dave McEwen flashed two crosses low across the face of goal only for the final touch to be missing.
City made the most of the man advantage after the break and having had a goal disallowed, Bothroyd thumped home a header from Daniel Hall's corner home for the crucial second goal.
Ciaran Toner's speculative 25-yard drive beat Gary Montgomery in the City goal to give us hope after 77 minutes but all hope vanished following Walker's sending off.
The young lads have to be given credit for not losing their heads at this stage and, to add insult to injury, Hillier had a decent penalty claim turned down with two minutes left.
Spurs Reserves: Walker, Consorti, Lacy, Piercy, Hillier, Toner, McEwen (Barnard, 65), Jackson, Ferguson (Kelly, 85), Kamanan (Quilter 75), Etherington. Unused subs: Di Giuliantonio, Marney.
Coventry City Reserves: Montgomery, Gustafsson, Hall, Noon, Edworthy, Davenport, Delorge, Betts, Ashby, Bothroyd, Normann. Unused subs: Miller, Falhman, Kenna, Magennis, Jephcott.