STONE Old Alleynians felt robbed of a point by a controversial penalty after the Old Boys had fought their way back into the game against an inform Haughmond side.
Missing a few players due to holidays and weddings saw a much changed team traveled for the league tie at the unbeaten West Midlands League Division 1 side.
Old Alleynians were under pressure straight away and after going close from two corners and a freekick it came as little surprise when the home side’s winger Dan Perry put his team one up when he guided a near post header past the stranded Adam Heath in the Alleynians goal.
Gradually, the visitors managed to get into the game and after a good passing movement Adam Tomkinson came close when he thundered a shot from 25 yards just over the bar.
Seydou Sow also showed glimpses of his pace by getting beyond the defence before slicing his shot wide.
Despite the referee appearing to favour the home team, the Old Boys continued to improve their passing game and a good run by Sam Hodgkinson almost produced the equaliser.
Haughmond were still dangerous on the break and Grant Bigham and Michael Davies, at the back for the Old Boys had to be alert to stifle the attack.
Old Alleynians finally got a break in the penalty area when a defender was adjudged to have pushed Nick Buckley as he went for a cross from left back Richard Hewitt.
The resulting penalty was slammed home confidently by Tomkinson to bring the Old Boys level just on half time.
With an injury to Seydou, Old Alleynians bought on youngster Matt Thomas up front, but within two minutes they conceded yet another sloppy goal as Haughmond benefitted from a quickly taken corner with a deflected shot giving Heath no chance in the Old Boys goal.
It looked like the hosts would go on to win easily but gradually the Alleynians got themselves back into the game.
Substitute Pete Birks steadied the midfield and his long throws caused havoc in the Haughmond defence.
After a rare attack by the leaders, Heath’s long kick down field caught the defence out and after a flick from the skilful Matthew Thomas, Nick Buckley chipped the ball into the opposition goal from 20 yards to bring the scores level at 2-2.
With both teams sensing they could win there was action at both ends with Heath in the Alleynians goal pulling off a number of fine saves and both Birks and Tomkinson came close for the Old Boys.
The game was controversially settled when the referee awarded a penalty to Haughmond after Birks, had been bundled over in the area by the home side’s attacker.
As he got up, he inadvertently handled the ball and it was only when the linesman flagged that the referee blew his whistle.
When it became apparent that he had given a penalty there was complete astonishment and disbelief until eventually the penalty was scored to put Haughmond 3-2 up.
The Old Boys steamed into attack with Buckley hitting the post, Matt Thomas heading wide from a long throw and Tomkinson forcing the Haughmond keeper to scramble the ball wide.
Despite a valiant effort right through to the end of the game, Old Alleynians could not get the equaliser they deserved and had to settle for feeling very unlucky to be defeated.