THE promotion hopes of Frome Town were dealt a significant blow on Saturday as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at bottom side Barnstaple Town.

But the game was more notable for an atrocious first half challenge by Jake Crush on Dan Harvey, from which the former Corsham Town man was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.

The tackle was so poor that even Crush’s own team-mates and management chastised him, and it was no surprise when he was shown a straight red card.

Robins assistant manager Derek Graham said: “You see players’ legs broken for that.

“ A Barnstaple player said it was an absolute disgrace. I was shocked when one of their own players said that.”

Frome, who were minus Mark Salter from the start, did not have the best of openings to the encounter when Steve Hunt was forced off with a twisted knee after three minutes.

On the 15 minute mark Frome did not clear their lines from a corner, allowing Ross Middleton to give the home side the lead with a well-taken goal. The lead only lasted 10 minutes. Substitute Liam Fussell’s long range drive was parried by the Barnstaple goalkeeper, and Matt Rawlins reacted first to notch his ninth goal of the season.

Crush was sent off for his challenge on Harvey after 35 minutes and after half time Harvey was taken off as his injured leg was worsening. Barum’s second came on 55 minutes as Jamie Cheeseman’s unconvincing header was lashed home by Jon Bradford on the volley.

The visitors were ineffective in attack in the second half, but they had every right to be aggrieved when they were denied a blatant handball in the final minute of the game.

Graham added: “It was a penalty, it was so blatant. But we were playing against 10 men for 60 minutes and they are bottom of the league, and we needed a penalty to get a result. That’s not good enough.”