Lightning struck twice in the West Yorkshire Premier on Saturday as red mist descended on Ripon City’s clash at Whitkirk Wanderers.
City were left counting the cost of another disciplinary horror show from a Leeds-based side when the match was abandoned at 2-2 after 70 minutes, with Wanderers left with only six players.
Just three weeks ago, Boroughbridge faced a similar abandonment against Rothwell when the Leeds outfit had five players sent off.
Wanderers had already had four players sent off and used all their substitutes when their centre back pulled up injured.
It gave the referee no option but to call time on proceedings.
Ripon City manager Paul Vincent labelled the match as a “farce” and said he was just happy to get away from the ground after the harrowing experience.
“It was just one after another. I just couldn’t believe what was going on,” he said. “It got to the stage where we just wanted to get off the pitch.
“I’ve been in football all my life and I can’t take it all in. The lads are playing for fun.The game became irrelevant. I hope we don’t have to play it again.”
Ripon started the match well and took a deserved lead through Pa Cisse on 20 minutes.
Minutes later, Wanderers saw red for the first time when their centre half was sent off for headbutting.
City piled on the pressure and missed a number of chances but they eventually doubled their lead through a Ben Clayton header.
However, with the away side two goals to the good, the game soon turned sour.
The referee brandished his second red card to a Whitkirk striker for continual abuse before the home side’s manager was also sent to the stands.
After the break, the nine-men of Wanderers hauled themselves level, but despite their performance improving, their disgraceful ill-discipline continued.
Two of their players were shown straight red cards for dangerous over-the-ball lunges before an injured defender forced the referee to abandon.
Vincent said Whitkirk lost focus after City’s passing game gradually began to bamboozle them.
He said: “They got frustrated our lads were passing it around them. I think we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“When our lads had the ball it was a case of where the tackle was coming from and how high.”
Despite the opposition’s antics, Vincent highlighted his players’ attitude as exceptional throughout the match.The manager also praised referee Jason Collinson’s handling of proceedings and said he came out of it with huge credit.
“There were no wrong words to the ref from our lads and there were no bookings,” he said.
“The lads went there to play football and it was massively intimidating.
“We passed the ball as well as we can and it was probably the best performance we have had all season.
“The players got headbutted and tackled horrendously but they just got up and got on with it.”
Vincent is hopeful Saturday’s events will help pull his squad together for their Whitworth Cup semi-final at Pannal Sports this weekend.
Ben Clayton and Paul Abbotts are cup-tied and Joe Knowles and Liam Gaffney are also unavailable but Simon English, Duncan Terry and James Mason should return from injury.
Ahead of the game, Vincent said: “They are all going to be up for it and it is our cup at the moment that we want to retain.
“But we are not going to underestimate our opponents. We know it is going to be a difficult.”
Both City’s and Boroughbridge’s abandoned matches face West Riding FA disciplinary hearings before the league will determine the results.
Kevin Parkinson, West Yorkshire League general secretary said it could take a month for all parties to submit explanations
“As a league we are very concerned by any match that is abandoned - we are very, very disappointed,” he said.
“It is a long time since we have had one abandonment and then two come at once.”