Dover Athletic’s academy were beaten 5-0 in the FA Youth Cup by Hanworth Villa at Crabble on Wednesday night, but the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story.
With the visitors one goal ahead early in the second half, Young Whites’ skipper Hayden Wood was sent off for a foul on the edge of the area after being deemed to be the last man by the referee.
Villa scored the resultant free-kick to double their lead, before going on to score three more times.
Academy boss Mike Sandmann said after the tie: “I’m really disappointed with the scoreline, but a massive decision has really changed the outcome of the game. It is easy to stand here and criticise, but it is a massive turning point as they scored from the set-piece.
“The officials said it was an obvious goalscoring opportunity, however their player took his touch away from goal, is outside the box and there is a covering defender, so how he can give a straight red card I’ll never know. It’s a big moment which I think ruined what was a very good game up until that point.”
Harrison Kempston twice nearly put Athletic in front, early on, volleying wide from outside the area and then seeing a shot well saved.
The away side then took control and despite the heavy scoreline, Sandmann took plenty of positives from the cup loss.
“Gaps will open up when it is 10 v 11, but I thought the boys still tried to play and move the ball.
“Before the break, I thought we were on the front foot and played most of the football in their half. We started well following the restart and thought we would find a way back into the game if we keep putting pressure on their backline. It all goes back to the red card which changed the momentum of the match.”
Whites also lost goalkeeper Magnus Lewis to injury moments before Hanworth Villa’s second goal. “It looks like a groin strain”, said Sandmann. “Magnus felt it in the first half and though it is never good to lose your keeper, it is just one of many things that did not go our way tonight.”