YORK City boss Steve Watson believes his team’s postponed National League North clash at FC United of Manchester should have gone ahead.

The Broadhurst Park playing surface passed two inspections at 10.15am and 1pm, but referee Amy Fearn deemed it “unsafe” an hour before kick-off as a dropped ball failed to bounce in several areas of the pitch and also stopping sharply when kicked along the ground.

But Watson argued that the ground would have improved with players running on it and declared that he had played Premier League games in worse conditions. “Both managers wanted the game to be played and, personally, I didn’t think it was that bad,” the City boss claimed. “But the referee didn’t ask for our opinion - she just explained the reasons and we wouldn’t have been able to change her mind.

“I’ve played in conditions that have been a lot worse, but it boils down to opinions and the only one that matters is the referee’s and you have to respect it. She deemed it unsafe, but there is danger in any game with the ball stopping and somebody getting hurt – that’s the sport.

“I know the rain was relentless and non-stop for three hours, but once the players are on the pitch the stud marks can help drain the water as well.”

Watson went on to argue that he was disappointed that an earlier decision could not have made to spare City’s supporters making the journey across the M62.

Nearby National League North contests at Altrincham and Guiseley were both postponed before 10am, as were fixtures at FC United’s League Two neighbours Bury and Oldham.

On his side’s match being called off so close to kick-off, Watson admitted: “It was the worst-case scenario to get everybody here and have the fans standing out in the rain waiting to hear if it was on. They might have got half-priced pies (an away kiosk was actually handing out free burgers following the announcement), but everyone travelled and prepared for the game only for it to be called off an hour before kick-off.

“It’s not really a problem schedule wise for us, because we have no other midweek games, but I feel for the supporters. I don’t think it was right to take it up until an hour before the game when everybody had got here. Probably the best time to call it off would have been at 10.30am.”

A first inspection, arranged for 9.30am, was delayed by 45 minutes when a locally-based Football League referee was stuck in traffic.

Matchday official Fearn conducted the next two and, defending her eventual call and the decision to stage three separate inspections, she said: “The ball was not bouncing in significant areas and that would have compromised player safety.

“The inspection at 9.30am was done by a Football League referee and the pitch was deemed fit to play. Then, when I arrived at 12, the ball was bouncing fine, but the playing surface just deteriorated in the hour between 1pm and 2pm.”