There was huge frustration for Pinchbeck United after a 94th minute winner denied them a point while the league’s suspension stopped them from building on an impressive performance.
A wonder half volley from 40 yards out by Ollie Jepson had looked set to earn the Knights a 1-1 draw with high-flying Shepshed Dynamo on Boxing Day.
But a 94th minute winner gave the home side a 2-1 win and just a third point of the season.
Having brought in a host of players new manager Lewis Thorogood had hoped to build on the performance as the club took the decision to play games while in Tier 3 of government COVID-19 restrictions.
But they’ll have to wait now after the decision put the country in lockdown cancelled the proposed games this week against ON Chenecks and the return fixture with Dynamo.
Though ‘devastated’ by the manner of the defeat Thorogood was delighted with his players after the performance against a side battling towards the top of the table – even if the wait for a first league win since August 7, 2019.
“The players stepped up and showed that they can compete against a team that, in my view, are a top three side.,” Thorogood said. “We were all absolutely devastated to lose in that manner, but there’s so many positives from the performance.
“It’s a massive step in the right direction.
“The players battled and showed real belief and confidence.
“Hopefully it’s a performance that will make others sit up and take notice that Pinchbeck are not just going to roll over and that they’re going to fight and be in the mix with teams.
“We were resilient and on the verge of a well deserved point that we believe we would have got but for some inconsistent refereeing.”
Shepshed’s winner was from a Matt Melbourne header after a free kick on the edge of the area that Thorogood felt was wrongly awarded.
“The referee was frustrating for both teams,” he continued. “I think if you spoke to the Shepshed manager he’d say the same thing.
“People talk about respecting officials, but it also has to go both ways.
“I didn’t think it was a free kick, especially given those that weren’t given before it.
“But we have to take the positives from the performance and there’s lots of them.”
One of them was Jepson’s 70th minute brilliant right-footed strike from distance that curled into the top right of the corner of the net and cancelled out Reece Morris’s 50th minute opener for Shepshed.
The home side videoed the game and highlights of Jepson’s strike has been watched thousands of times online, not least by Thorogood who admits he didn’t see it in real time.
“As he hit the shot from so far out I turned around as I thought it was going over.
“Then suddenly the rest of the ground went quiet and our bench erupted.
“It’s had about 6,000 views on Facebook now so we should be charging £1 to watch it to raise a bit of money for the club.
“It’s certainly one of those goals you can just keep watching.
“The technique with how he hit it is so good from Ollie and it’s something he’s capable of.
“He did something similar, an overhead kick, for Harrowby so he’s got that in him and is technically a very, very impressive young player.
“He played well, but afterwards he was just disappointed that we didn’t get anything out of it.
“That just shows the attitude of my players . They want the results and improvements all the time and that just shows their mentality.”
Pinchbeck had arranged to play ON Chenecks last Saturday, January 2, and the return fixture with Shepshed yesterday (January 6) but those and all fixtures up to January 13 were originally postponed by the league due to the new COVID-19 restrictions for the area.
The new lockdown means the club faces no fixtures for a far longer period.
Speaking before the government lockdown but after the suspension of the league, Thorogood believed there was still time for the league season to be completed.
That was despite admitting at the time he doubted the league would re-start on January 16.
He also reiterated that leagues should not leave it up to clubs as to whether they play or not as has been attempted in past few weeks.
“I’m still hopeful we can get the season finished by May.
“We’ve got 26 games left to play and yes, we’ve one scheduled for every Saturday, but we’ve only two in midweek.
“What I don’t agree with is the leagues leaving it up to the clubs as to whether they should play or not.
“There should be a blanket command of you should play the fixtures or you shouldn’t.
“We’ll be back at some stage in whatever form or guise.”