Kingston’s Lee Sawyer was violently struck with a hockey stick by an opposition player in Kingston’s 4-3 defeat on Wednesday afternoon in Surbiton.
Brighton midfielder Harry Lawson lashed out after being fouled by Kingston’s Sawyer which resulted in KU captain Luke Lovejoy angrily reacting to the incident, ending with both Lawson and Lovejoy receiving yellow cards.
Lovejoy looked back on the incident saying: “The guy got tackled and reacted badly while he was on the floor and swung his stick at myself and Lee and unfortunately connected with Lee.
“I stood up and was angry with the situation and pushed him and asked him what he was thinking. We both got a speaking to from the umpires and both went into the sin bin.”
After what was a table-topping victory for Brighton, Coach Jordan Collins was disappointed with how Lawson reacted but didn’t think it warranted the red card.
He said: “From what I saw, I was quite disappointed with Harry for what he did. Obviously there was frustration of being bundled over beforehand and I think it looked a lot worse than what it did.
“I’ve spoken to Harry about it and I think it was a yellow card but I don’t think it was a red [card].”
Kingston started the game brightly after slick passing and good build-up play which eventually led to Rob Field scoring his first goal of the match in emphatic style.
By cleverly putting the ball between the defender’s legs, Field got away and superbly scored a reverse stick belter across the face of the Brighton keeper to make it 1-0 early on.
Kingston looked comfortable in possession and handled Brighton’s pressure with ease until a quick break undid the Kingston back-line, leaving an easy shot for Brighton’s right midfielder, Charlie Michael to slot home to make it 1-1.
The next 10 minutes proved costly for Kingston as their defensive shape crumbled with Brighton scoring another three goals in quick succession with Rupert Ashdown grabbing two goals and Dan Bone getting on the score sheet before Rob Field could get his second to give Kingston a glimmer of hope.
With the score at 4-2 to Brighton at half-time, it was all Kingston’s to do in the second half.
The second game offered as much excitement as the first as both teams looked close to scoring but it was the incident between Lovejoy and Lawson that dominated proceedings. A poor tackle from Sawyer put Lawson on the ground which then resulted in the heated confrontation and both players in the sin bin.
Minutes after, Field was brought down in the box and was given a penalty but failed to covert and missed the chance to score his hat-trick.
Kingston added another goal late on with Chris Podd assisting Luke Varney in the final minutes but Kingston ran out of time and was ultimately left to rue their missed chances.
Lovejoy concluded: “We didn’t get the result in the first half and that’s what killed us but we clawed our way back in the second half and I think we deserved a point out of the game but we just ran out of time.”
Kingston can now only finish third in the table as they battle for the place with Sussex who also sit on 10 points but have two games in hand.