Wisbech 1 Bromsgrove Sporting 3: Claims of racist language mar FA Vase tie

PUBLISHED: 20:07 06 January 2018 | UPDATED: 20:32 06 January 2018

Referee Edward Pidduck speaks to Bromsgrove Sporting goalkeeper Reece Francis, who claimed he was abused by fans. Picture: Ian Carter

Referee Edward Pidduck speaks to Bromsgrove Sporting goalkeeper Reece Francis, who claimed he was abused by fans. Picture: Ian Carter

Garry Samuels

Wisbech manager Gary Setchell has condemned supporters who allegedly use racist language during an incident-packed FA Vase tie against Bromsgrove Sporting.

Visiting goalkeeper Reece Francis left the pitch in tears at half-time, having claimed he was abused by someone in the group of Wisbech fans behind his goal.

“I hope we find out who said what and I hope he is not allowed into the football ground again,” said Setchell.

“The fact of the matter is their goalkeeper was obviously upset about an incident behind the goal. The referee has done the right thing and tried to get to the bottom of it, but that cannot happen.

“This is not the 70s and the 80s anymore where people turned up at a football match and comments are thrown about. That is unacceptable.”

The second half of the match saw two Wisbech players sent off inside a matter of just a few minutes, flares thrown on to the pitch from the visiting fans behind home keeper Paul Bastock’s goal, a flare-up between supporters and members of the Bromsgrove bench and then, after the final whistle, punches thrown in the tunnel between a fan and some visiting players.

Wisbech chairman Paul Brenchley insisted after the game that Wisbech fans had used the word “fat” not “black” in a chant aimed at Francis.

“It was 50-50,” said Brenchley. “Everybody I spoke to said there were no racial comments. The ref called me in at half-time. He hadn’t heard it and he can’t do anything unless he heard it. The fourth official said he didn’t hear it. So we have to wait and see.

“I ejected one Wisbech supporter who threw a flare came where it came from, but none of our fans had flares.

“Racism is the last thing we want here.”

On the pitch, Wisbech more than held their own, but were guilty of missing quality opportunities, although a muddy goalmouth probably denied them early in the second half as the ball stuck in the mud when everyone expected it to roll across the line.

Bromsgrove went ahead on 62 minutes, Richard Gregory scoring from the penalty spot after Jon Fairweather had handled.

Six minutes later Sean Brain made it 2-0, but Wisbech gave themselves a lifeline when Alex Beck drilled in a shot from the right side of the area.

But then came a crazy few minutes when Bastock appeared to have the ball kicked out of his hands and in the ensuing scramble, Fairweather committed another foul which earned him a second yellow card. Bastock was also booked, then beaten from the spot by Gregory again and then shown a second yellow as his protests continued.

Down to nine men, the hopes of a comeback became impossible.

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