MELKSHAM Town manager Kieran Baggs felt his side were “robbed of a fair chance” to win the game by the referee as they went down 2-0 at home to Yate Town in Southern League Division One South on New Year’s Day, writes JONATHAN LEIGHFIELD.

Olly Mehew and Mike Bryant consigned Melksham to their fourth defeat of the season as Baggs was left speechless by the controversial decision to award a penalty and two red cards against his team.

Neikell Plumber and Chris Allen were both dismissed as Melksham’s task to overturn the league leaders went from tough to near-impossible.

Melksham had a difficult Christmas period, scraping past Larkhall Athletic 1-0 on Boxing Day thanks to a Rob Hobbs strike, before conceding five in two games starting with a 3-0 loss at Evesham United on Saturday as even the return of Jonathan Davies failed to inspire their attacking talents.

Recounting events over the Christmas period, Baggs said: “At Evesham, we were beaten convincingly 3-0 by a very good side.

“We were put to the sword by them and I’ve got no complaints about the scoreline.

“I feel sorry for the boys because they gave up a lot over the Christmas period so that they could be ready for these two games and I feel like they were robbed of a fair chance against Yate with the debatable penalty and the two very harsh straight red cards.

“There was no appeal from their bench or players. It was a really strange encounter and one that I’ve never experienced in football before.

“Nobody in the ground – on all three major decisions – has appealed and you can gauge a lot of things at our level by the reaction of the players.

“I spoke to their lads at half-time and even they didn’t know what the penalty had been given for.

“When the sending offs happened, it was absolute confusion. Nobody knew what was going on and I was just really disappointed by the performance of the referee.

“I felt that he decided that he didn’t like Melksham from the first whistle and he made it perfectly clear to the 500 people that were there that there was only going to be one winner and it was a really tough day for us.”