HEREFORDSHIRE FA Chief Executive Jonny Walker says that the issue of players disrespecting referees with abusive and threatening behaviour is a common theme in the county.

Four extraordinary reports are being compiled from last weekends games alone due to the issue.

The HFA Sunday League top of the table clash between The Lion and Hereford City Harriers is the subject of 'through investigation' after the referee walked off the field of the play.

"On Monday morning we had four extraordinary reports from the weekend fixtures due to the abuse of referees and threatening behaviour," said Walker.

"We have a referees meeting every Monday and a common theme is the lack of respect for referees.

"For all the good work done if football wants to continue to thrive there needs to be more respect."

Players were left baffled why the match between The Lion and Hereford City Harriers were abandoned.

The Lion were winning 3-0 when match referee called the game off.

He told the players his decision was down to ‘both teams’ questioning his decisions.

The Lion, who lead the division, had raced into a 3-0 first-half lead thanks to goals from Lewis Phillips and a brace from Connor Bufton.

Harriers midfielder Owen Goode was sent off after the break when he received a second yellow card for a foul on the half-way line.

But there was no time for the Lion to take the resulting free-kick as the referee walked from the pitch at Leominster’s Bridge Street.

Captains from both sides attempted to talk the official round but he stuck with his decision and players shook hands as the game ended after an hour of play.

Despite the game being abandoned the 3-0 result stood.

Martin Rivett, Hereford City Harriers manager, said: "I did not hear too much dissent from either team.

“A few did query his decisions but no one swore and there was nothing personal said."

Mark Rusling was playing for the Lion and also questioned the referees decision to abandon the match.

"We were 3-0 up and playing probably the best we've played all season," he said.

"One of their players got booked in the first half for questioning one of the referees decisions (something which happens every game and I felt that was a bit unlucky for the player).

"The game wasn't dirty or in bad spirit or anything. Our striker was in the middle of the pitch and was clipped by the pre-mentioned player resulting in a second yellow.

"He then pleaded with the referee that he shouldn't be sent off and then walked off the pitch. A few of their players then said things along the lines of that being the wrong decision. I said to the player he was unlucky because I didn't feel the first yellow was deserved.

"The referee who was stood nearby then said 'Right. That's it. I've had enough' blew the full time whistle and walked off. "Players from both sides were asking him to stay and carry on as there wasn't long left but he kept on walking."