Sun Postal manager Paul Hobbs believes the decision to send off one of his key players last night could cost his side promotion.

Ashley Lewis was given a second yellow card for kicking the ball away with seconds remaining of the 5-0 home win over Risborough Rangers in Division One of the Spartan South Midlands League.

The midfielder begins a three-match suspension this weekend for a straight red card he picked up in the last league game at Arlesey Town Reserves, and now Hobbs fears the Herts FA "will throw the book at him".

"He's been our best player in the last four or five games and has taken his game to another level," Hobbs said. "This could really be the difference between us playing in the same division next season with the same group of players or moving into the Premier and taking this fantastic club to the next level."

The referee, A Stevens, also booked five players in a twice arranged match that, according to Hobbs, "did not feature a bad tackle".

"I felt the referee was itching to send somebody off and what was the point with seconds remaining? Ash was hardly wasting time for them to get back into the game, was he? There was just no need. Even our fans, who don't say a word and are really pleasant folk from the Cassiobury, were moaning about the ref. I sat with Risborough's manager until 11 o'clock and even he couldn't believe it."

The result, secured by goals from Lewis (2), James Armstrong, Dan Tompkins and Gary Wallace, moved Sun back to the top of the table, one point clear of Bedford who have played a game more and five clear of Kings Langley who have played two games less.

Lewis, a friend of Anthony Joshua and a former Hertfordshire youth team-mate of Henri Lansbury, will miss league matches against Arlesey Town Reserves, Risborough Rangers and Langford but will be back for the Herts Centenary Cup final against Belstone on March 19.