Horrendous errors come and go in football. Sometimes you'll accept them and others you will hope that they harmlessly pass you by.
On Saturday however, Farnborough Town were accepting nothing as they stood in the firing line of one of the more ridiculous decisions to be seen at Cherrywood Road this season as they lost 4-2 to the Conference's top dogs Yeovil Town.
When a side has to roll up their sleeves and dig deep the last thing you need is to turn around and realise you are up against twelve men rather than eleven. But that is exactly what the Boro players must have felt on seeing the referee's assistant flag for an infringement when Darren Annon's challenge on Kirk Jackson in the penalty area was anything but.
With the score delicately poised at one apiece, Michael McIndoe's resulting penalty in the 65th minute not only ruined any hopes that Boro had of stealing the points against an impressive Yeovil side, but it completely ruined a game which until that point had been keenly contested with good spirit throughout.
Boro boss Ian McDonald was adamant that the decision was of the poorer nature and that his side's play suffered as a result. "The game has changed on one decision from the linesman," said McDonald. "He was probably the only person in the ground who thought it was a penalty and after that we lost our shape and had to start chasing the game. When you do that against a side like Yeovil you will suffer and pay the consequences."
He was not wrong there. Despite Boro working tirelessly, all of their good work was prior to the official's blunder and Yeovil — like all good sides — simply turned to knife into Boro's heart once they had stuck it in.
As the crowd of 2,114 made themselves well and truly heard at Cherrywood Road, Boro started brightly but the class of Yeovil also told in the early stages and when Gavin Williams' raising shot whistled past Tony Pennock's upright —you sensed that a battle would be on the cards.
With Christian Lee and Chris Piper both suspended, Gary Patterson had to revert to defensive duties whilst Stuart Reeks proved impressive at right full-back. In the early stages the outstanding McIndoe continually put the former Woking player to the sword, but time and again he proved that he was up to the task with crisp tackling and good passing.
After play had sea-sawed from one end to another, the breakthrough went in the visitors' favour on 14 minutes when Kirk Jackson charged down Annon's clearance. The fortunate deflection then fell nicely into the path of Lee Johnson — who from close range made no mistake as he slotted under the body of the advancing Pennock.
The reply was what we have come to expect from Boro in recent weeks — but the goal was not something we have come to expect from Gary Butterworth. His 30-yard screamer in the 29th minute was as good anything you will see in terms of strikes this season — and only his second goal in Boro colours and his first in the league.
So 1-1 and now it was game on! Dean Green then tried his luck just moments later when he hit a long-range volley straight at Chris Weale between the Yeovil posts but Boro's pressure continued to tell and despite Jackson and Adam Lockwood coming close for the visitors, McDonald's men were clearly up for the fight.
The second half started with the same pace in which the first had ended, only that it was now Boro who were looking to stamp their authority all over the game.
Rocky Baptiste found himself through on goal in the 57th minute but his attempted lob fell kindly into the hands of Weale, and Lenny Piper, who himself had been relatively quiet in the opening half was now looking dangerous as he teased his way through the Yeovil midfield.
Then the turning point came and went and to put it bluntly — that was that! At first it appeared that there might have been an off-the-ball incident which had caused the flag to be raised but the fact that there was not so much of a whisper coming from the Yeovil fans backed up McDonald's theory on the linesman being on his own with regards to his decision making.
Why on earth Gary Lewis, the referee — who was perfectly situated in terms of distance from the challenge — did not simply ignore his assistant's calls spoke volumes for his officiating as well. From this, Boro had been well and truly robbed.
Not only did they lose their shape from here, but their discipline went slightly astray and resulting bookings for Reeks and Patterson threatened to send the game out of control as their frustrations grew stronger.
Jackson then took advantage of the home side's loose shape in the 75th and 90th minutes when he finished neatly after good work from the impressive Kevin Gall. And although Joff Vansittart headed past Weale in the dying seconds from Geoff Pitcher's pin-point cross, there was little consolation as the scoreline failed to tell any sort of truth in a hard afternoon's work.
McDonald added after the game: "There was a lot more positives than negatives and the lads will be right for the game next week. We are just trying to get as many points as possible. We will take each game as it comes but for comfort sake, we need two or three wins very quickly and the sooner they come, the better.
"We are disappointed because we have lost the game but we will keep battling. The spirit has been fantastic but decisions like that one today can knock the spirit out of you and that is where I come into play as I have to make sure that their heads are up."
The FA Trophy now sits next in line for McDonald, as Halifax visit Cherrywood Road this Saturday with Boro hoping to advance into the quarter-finals.
BORO: Pennock; Taggart, Annon, Reeks, Patterson, L.Piper (Potter 83), Butterworth, Charlery, Baptiste (Harkness 83), Pitcher, Green (Vansittart 51).Not used: Osborn, Girvan. Att: 2,114. Ref: G.Lewis.
l Boro reserves are in Capital League action on Wednesday (tommorrow) night against local rivals Woking. Kick-off at Cherrywood Road is 7.45pm.