Referee Carl Boyeson explains he had no choice to but postpone York City League Two play-off semi-final with Fleetwood
Referee Carl Boyeson at Bootham Crescent shortly after calling off York City's play-off clash with Fleetwood
REFEREE Carl Boyeson said he didn't want the League Two play-off semi-final first leg between York City and Fleetwood to be "down to chance" when making the decision to postpone Saturday's match at Bootham Crescent.
The Hull-based official called off the game at 7.50pm with the pitch unplayable following an afternoon and evening of heavy rain in York.
Boyeson initially took a decision, at 7.15pm, to delay the 7.30pm kick off by half an hour to give the City groundstaff a chance to get to work on removing areas of standing water on the pitch.
But although brooms and rolling machines were employed to try and sweep the water from areas around the touchline, the rain continued to fall - forcing Boyeson's hand.
The referee and his team had carried out several inspections of affected areas, rolling and kicking balls to see how they reacted when they hit the water.
The first leg will now be staged on Monday night.
"I arrived at the ground and there were concerns regarding the pitch and the weather," Boyeson said when explaining his decision. "It was holding water. At 7.15pm, it stopped raining but the pitch was still unplayable at that point.
"I gave the groundstaff 45 minutes with the weather the way it was - not raining - to get the pitch into a position where we could play the game.
"Unfortunately, during that 45 minute spell, it started to rain again and the harder the groundstaff were working the worse the pitch was was getting because of the rain.
"I cannot thank enough, and put into words, how much effort the groundstaff put in order to get this game on but, unfortunately, they have been beaten by the weather.
"You don't expect a game to be off in May because of the weather but, unfortunately, the way it has been for most of the day has brought a decision where, at 7.50pm, the game had to be called off."
Asked which areas of the pitch had caused him most concern," Boyeson added. "The middle of pitch was fine and the goalmouths were fine. It was the two touchlines - ten or 15 yards in from the touchlines and right into play."
Boyeson added that he had the support of managers Nigel Worthington and Graham Alexander.
He said: Both managers supported me throughout. They were patient. They listened. They went out there when I asked them to have a look at the pitch. They both supported myself and my colleagues from start to finish and both were in agreement that the spectacle of the game you would want it to be - being a semi-final of the play-offs - you don't want anything put to chance on a pitch like that.
"You want to leave it as long as you possibly can but you have got to also be sensible and realise you can't still be stood here at night. We gave York City and the groundstaff every opportunity to get this game on but, unfortunately, at 7.50pm, when the rain was coming in, we had to call it."
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