Alfreton Town were forced to postpone their FA Cup second-round meeting with Walsall just minutes before the game was due to kick off, sparking a furious reaction from both sets of supporters. The match was due to be shown live on the BBC but ultimately fell foul of the freezing weather, with the officials making the call to postpone it just before the players were set to enter the pitch.
Alfreton confirmed the news via a social media statement, which was posted just one minute before the scheduled kick-off time of 12:30pm. It read: “Despite our best efforts unfortunately the match officials have called the match off. Apologies to those that have travelled. We will provide further updates when we have them.”
The decision was met with boos from home supporters, who had turned up with high hopes of seeing Alfreton pull off an upset against their League One opponents. The ground had filled up with fans after volunteers and club staff had rolled off pitch covers, which they hoped would prevent the freezing temperatures from affecting the playing surface.
Walsall boss Mat Sadler felt the correct call had been made by the match officials in spite of the decision being made just moments before the fixture was due to kick off. He told the BBC: “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.
“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.”
The BBC were forced to alter their schedule in light of the postponement, with the live match broadcast being replaced by an episode of Money For Nothing. The game was one of several fixtures to be called off due to a frozen pitch as the icy conditions wreaked havoc on football grounds up and down the country.
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