Send us news, start your message Cheshire News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Witton Albion manager Brian Pritchard believes referee was right to abandon FA Trophy tie
BRIAN Pritchard believes the referee was right to abandon Witton Albion’s FA Trophy replay against FC United of Manchester after heavy rainfall and a thunderstorm.
With the teams level at 2-2, match official Gareth Mellor made the decision to end early the contest with a quarter hour left to play.
“The weather had started to dictate the game,” said Pritchard.
“When that happens, it’s spoilt for everybody. The pitch was unplayable, end of. There was no alternative for the referee but to call it off.”
His team had led twice at Radcliffe Borough’s Stainton Park home, both times thanks to goals by Neville Thompson.
But after Michael Norton had hauled FC United level for a second time, the Rebels looked more likely winners.
That is until thunder, lightning and a downpour cut short a game already preceded by two postponements.
It means both clubs will be in Monday’s third qualifying round draw despite not yet completing their first round tie.
Pritchard said: “I feel most sorry for both sets of supporters.
“The players wanted to finish the game if they could, and not one of them had complained despite the conditions deteriorating rapidly in the second half.
“I asked the referee from the touchline how he felt about the lightning, particularly as the storm was pretty much overhead.
“It’s frustrating that he felt compelled to make the choice he did, but I think he would have been damned either way.
“He had to consider as well that the game was heading towards extra time. Would the playing surface have coped with that? Radcliffe’s groundsman was adamant it wouldn’t have.
“Nobody wanted to find themselves in that situation – it feels though that this tie is jinxed.”
He regretted what he felt was passive response by his players to taking the lead for a second time after Thompson swerved in just five minutes following the interval.
“We stopped after that and couldn’t get out of our own half in the 10 minutes before they equalised,” he added.
“Collectively, we should have been more aggressive than we were. After conceding so soon after the restart, they looked a bit shell-shocked before we let them recover.
“Once again the teams were evenly-matched, though we’re glad to have shown again how much progress we’ve made since losing at Gigg Lane in September.
“Sadly we’ll have to do so again, though I’m pretty sure the teams are sick of the sight of each other by now!”
Front man Dave Walker missed the match with a groin injury, while defender Marc Joseph was withdrawn following a blow to his jaw suffered during a tangle with Matthew Wolfenden.
No date to replay the replay has yet been set.
To read a report on yesterday's abandoned game, click here: http://bit.ly/1e4DBuf
Comments are closed on this article.