SWIFTS manager Jody Brown had another frustrating night with match officials as he was sent from the dugout in front of a bumper 407 Friday-night crowd at a freezing Spa Road.
It was a game dominated by central defenders with the home pairing of Pat Ahern and Jack Kemsley coping well with the passing threat and movement from visitors, who arrived after four wins on the spin.
Swifts came very close to taking the lead very early on when keeper Bobby Mason made a superb save from a close range header from Luke Callander. Mason then made another good stop from a powerful Callander drive.
Heybridge took the lead early in the second half as Harrison Chatting kept up his fine goal scoring run by volleying home from close range following a good passing move and cross from Callander (pictured above by Paul Simpson).
The bumpy pitch made it difficult to maintain good passing as the hosts fought hard to get back in the game and looked dangerous without creating many chances against a solid defence.
But just as stoppage time started, Town grabbed an equaliser when a high ball into the box was cleverly flicked past Danny Sambridge into the far post by Correy Davidson.
It was typical of a local derby to bring up a result against the form book and credit must go to the hosts for battling so well late on in the game.
The clubs meet again in the reverse fixture on Tuesday night at the Aspen Waite Arena and Swifts will be hoping to return to winning ways.
Brown said: “First of all, it was not a great spectacle for the 400 crowd but we will take a point, move on and hope to learn and improve our performance.
“The officials were excellent and stamped real authority on the game very early.
“The booking for Krasniqi after less than five seconds for pulling John Watson’s shirt killed his night, but rightly so.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a yellow card so early in a game at this level, as normally players get to physically assault one another for the first 30 minutes, much to my frustration. So I credit the official for applying the laws so immaculately on this occasion.
“Disappointingly on my part, I got sent from the technical area after only about ten minutes. Ryan Henshaw was clearly elbowed to the floor in perfect view of the linesman who was stood right next to where I was sat. And he was looking straight at the incident.
“He chose not say a word so I jumped out of my seat and – as there is no space between the touchline and bench – he was right on top of me.
“I asked why he wasn’t doing anything about it and he basically laughed in my face so I said something inappropriate and he called the referee over and had me removed.
“I’ve seen managers punch, kick, hide match balls, enter the field of play, run 40 yards to fight people in the opposite technical area and heard all kinds of verbal abuse – but seen no action against the perpetrators.
“But it seems a heated exchange like that with an official supersedes all of that. I will accept my punishment and embrace the lessons learned.
“I’ve been sent off once in five or six seasons, although I am having too many negative touchline discussions with officials of late.
“I note that most managers and coaches do, but I really don’t want to anymore.
“I have to admit that I am finding the inconsistencies and lack of protection for player safety, and basic application of the laws very hard to deal with at times. I will need to manage those situations much better in the future or step away from football.
“Arguing with officials that know the game far better than myself is not benefitting anybody, and at least not my team.”