The town's football club were denied an unlikely win and quarter final place in a bizarre game featuring four red cards.

On Saturday (November 17) Epping Town FC faced off against Great Baddow at Stonards Hill recreation ground.

Despite being four divisions below their opposition, Epping took a 1-0 lead into half time.

This and a later strike would be cancelled out in the second half by two Great Baddow goals.

The recently revitalised Epping would eventually be beaten 3-2 after conceding a penalty and losing centre midfielder Harrison Grant for jumping over and not touching the opposition goalkeeper.

While manager Billy Cove congratulated Great Baddow for being "well organised" and a "really good bunch of blokes", he directed scorn at referee Adrian Oldershaw.

He said: "We got the name of the referee about a week before, but it changed three or four times which is not normal.

"Then at the beginning the ref asked us to not forget the sin bin, which is like asking us not to forget we can score goals."

Ten minutes in Joe Killingback was shown a yellow by the ref and then quickly dismissed for verbalising his frustrations.

Mr Cove added: "He gave him a red card for foul and abusive language.

"He swore but not at the ref.

"This is men's football."

The manager also complained that the referee joined the opposing team's huddle for several minutes and awarded a goal despite the linesman's flag being raised for offside.

"The whole place is going mad at that point," Mr Cove said.

"He didn't even go and talk to the linesman.

"My dad was in the crowd and said 'I can't believe what you have done here.'

"The ref said 'have you not got anything better to do on a Saturday afternoon?'

"In my 30-year football career I have never met a worse one.

“He sent four people off in what wasn’t a dirty game at all."

As well as Mr Cove seeing being sent to the stands, a Great Baddow player was sent off for swearing at the linesman.

Mr Oldershaw is due to officiate the club's next game against Leigh Ramblers Reserves on November 24.

A spokesperson for the Essex FA said: "We’ve received misconduct reports relating to the match between Epping Town and Great Baddow on Saturday in the ProKit UK Essex Olympian League’s Senior League Cup.

"These reports are receiving our attention and they will pass through our disciplinary process.”