Alfreton Town P-P Walsall: FA Cup second-round tie called off just minutes before kick-off

2 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

Non-league Alfreton Town's FA Cup second-round tie with League Two side Walsall was called off due to a frozen pitch just minutes before kick-off.

The match was scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One with a 12:30 GMT start but the match officials deemed the Impact Arena surface to be unplayable.

National League North club Alfreton are attempting to reach the third round for the first time in their history.

The game will be rearranged for a date yet to be confirmed.

The ground had filled up with fans after volunteers and club staff had worked hard to roll off covers they hoped had prevented the freezing temperatures from affecting the pitch.

However, referee Sam Allison made the decision to call the game off just after 12:20 GMT, less than 10 minutes before the scheduled kick-off.

Allison told BBC Radio Derby that the covers had been kept on as long as possible to give the game a chance of going ahead.

"It was too hard in too many areas of the pitch, it seemed like an ice rink in some areas," Allison added. "Player safety has to be the priority - it was too dangerous and too unsafe."

The decision was met with boos from the home supporters who had turned up hoping to see a cup upset but Walsall boss Mat Sadler felt the correct call had been made.

"As soon as I walked in, I thought this game is going to be off. It was rock hard and I knew it wasn't going to get any warmer," he told BBC Match of the Day Live.

"I know they've tried to wait as long as they possibly can to see if we can get it played but I don't think it was ever going to be played - it just looked dangerous to me.

"We all wanted to play because we don't want a logjam of games but I think common sense has prevailed. The goalmouth is rock hard - it wasn't safe and it was the right decision to call it off."

Alfreton boss Billy Heath said he understood the decision but felt the game could still have gone ahead.

"I get the reasons why but it depends what era you're from - we didn't have a problem with the pitch, we would have been quite happy to play it," he added.

Crewe's FA Cup tie with Bristol Rovers and several National League matches had already fallen to the cold snap, along with several games in Scotland.

This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: