Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler reflects on 'sad day for football' at Hartlepool United following three red cards and crowd trouble

A shocking afternoon of football unfolded at Victoria Park where the result between Hartlepool United and Dover was secondary.

Saturday, 21st September 2019, 5:44 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st September 2019, 6:49 pm
Dover Athletic's players confront Hartlepool United supporters after their first goal during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Dover Athletic at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 21st September 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News) Photograph may only be used for newspaper and/or magazine editorial purposes, license required for commercial use

Dover did win the game 2-0 but the match was shamefully overshadowed by some horrendous officiating and ugly scenes involving the home supporters.

After a tight and fairly uneventful first half, Dover were awarded a contentious penalty which understandably irked the home fans.

The spot kick was clinically dispatched by Inih Effiong who celebrated in front of the home fans in the Town End. It would be eight minutes before play would resume as the something was shouted from the stand which clearly upset Effiong and his Dover teammates.

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The Pools players also seemed to condemn what was said with an announcement over the PA at half-time stating ‘racial abuse will not be tolerated’.

“At one stage I wanted us to come off the pitch and Craig [Hignett] agreed with me,” said Whites manager Andy Hessenthaler.

“My stomach didn’t feel right and I didn’t like what was going on and I told the lads if they want to come off they should.

“But the players didn’t want to do that, it was obviously going to be such a tough game to referee. It's a crazy day and a sad day for football.”

Things went from bad to worse for Pools as a fan made his way onto the pitch to direct abuse at the referee before being escorted. Hignett, Ryan Donaldson and Nicky Featherstone all saw red for dissent aimed at the referee – club statement incoming.