After 17 years, Howard Newton has finally ticked off a first in football – although he was wishing it would never happen.

The 32-year-old Tooting & Mitcham United winger was sent off for the first time in his career last weekend in the 1-0 defeat at home to East Grinstead Town.

Newton, a Guyana international, has pulled on the shirt of more than 10 clubs, including Sutton United, Met Police and Hampton & Richmond Borough, without once seeing red.

Despite being disappointed, Newton is more upset at having to sit out three games as the Terrors; Ryman Division One South campaign gathers pace.

He said: “The sending off was one of those things that happen in the penalty box. A defender and I were jostling for space, and he butted me in the cheek.

“I’ve gone to push him away out of my personal space, and caught him in the face.

“Before you know it, their players are all around the referee, and all he has seen is me putting my hand in his face, so by the letter of the law, it is a sending off.”

Wimbledon Times:

On the pitch: Howard Newton in action for Met Police in last season's London Senior Cup clash against AFC Wimbledon           SP84890

He added: “I thought I’d go through my career never having a red card, but it was just a natural reaction thing rather than moment of madness.

“Yes, it’s disappointing, but it’s one of those things and I am not worried about it.

“I am more frustrated that I am going to miss three games, including the game at Merstham, which is a big one.”

Following a 2-0 win over Hythe Town on Tuesday night, the Terrors, managed by former Met and Sutton United favourite Craig Tanner, broke into the play-off places.

Newton added: “I am positive we’re going to finish in the play-offs.”